The sign on one of the churches in town says, Our commitment to Christ is a daily calling.
This week I have been reflecting on Christ the King as I have prepared for Sunday’s Service. And this sign just pushed my thoughts in a whole other direction.
Christ as King, is our Lord, and we serve him….but do we commit to serve him or are we called to serve him? I see these as two separate things.
We make commitments all the time:
to meet for lunch
to conduct the meeting
to bring the snack for break-time
and if the truth were to be told, those are entirely flexible comittments. Two nights ago I was committed to conduct a part of a worship service, installing the new moderator and getting that particular job off of my to do list. I prepared with pleasure, and got out the gavel, ready to pass it on. But, all week I had been battling the flu and come that night I realized that not only would I likely not make it, if I did no one wanted me there. As commitments go, that one was entirely expendable.
There are other commitments however that fall into the category of calling. It is a calling to take care of another person. No parent gets up in the morning and says, “I’m tired of being a parent. Today is my day off. No diapers, no bottles, no bath time–the baby can stay in the crib and cry.” Well you don’t say it if you love your child and intend to keep him/her in your life forever.
No cat owner would ever presume to think that they could skip feeding the cat or cleaning the box…said cat will never let you forget that you have not met the obligations of your calling as a cat slave…. seriously…. if I decide to sleep in, which I do more often since I developed this iron deficiency problem, there will be annoying reminders of his hunger. First, he will march across the bed, shove his face in mine (I presume to see if I am alive). Then he will tap my face. Then he will start knocking things down off the bedside table. Then if things don’t work he’ll start knocking things off the dresser. Fortunately I have since wised up, but once he took off with my glasses….they now live in a drawer until I get dressed….but if that drawer is open even a crack he will start fishing in it….
So to my mind a calling is something that you do… Rain, Sun, Snow whatever a calling is something that is a top, if not “the” top priority in your life.
But this calling to be a child of God, doesn’t have those same insistent reminders. God does not wail from Heaven (at least not that I’ve heard lately) and he does not poke and annoy you until you get up and remember to fulfill your calling. God waits patiently, every time we decide that we don’t have time to read Scripture and pray. God stands silently by every time we decide that we can’t reach out to someone in need. God watches every time we are rude or unkind. And God waits for us to return, to confess and re-affirm that we will indeed follow him and serve him all the days of our lives.
I know that these past few weeks I have been guilty of ignoring that calling. Since my return from vacation I have been trying to get caught up on work stuff (still not there), in the hospital for an iron infusion and down with the flu. Even last night with that church sign on my mind, I fell asleep reading Scripture…There are times when my level of involvement in this calling is low to minimal to non-existent. What I truly am is grateful that I live in grace and that I do have the chance to serve with love and faith again and again.
Do I wish that God was as persistent as a crying baby or a cat? Sometimes. But to be honest I don’t think it would make that much difference, because like most people I am perfectly capable of ignoring the Holy Spirit when it suits me. And I have learned that if you ignore the Holy Spirit, that he becomes silent, or perhaps I get deafer. I know that God nagging me to spend time with him is not the answer.
The answer is for me to live out my calling. To spend time with the one who loves me more than any other. To learn from him how to love. To learn from him how to give selflessly. To learn from him what living out a calling means. This is my true freedom.