Milverton, Somerset

Made for purpose

Whenever I listen to one of Jesus’ searching questions to his listeners I find myself thinking “What would I do in these circumstances?” If I were casting my nets, and Jesus said “follow me”, would I do it? I imagine many of us would be hoping that we never have to find out.

All too often it’s assumed that being called is just about the religious life to a particular ministry, lay or ordained in the life of the Church. Of course, it is about that for some of us, and thank God for that, but in the New Testament, vocation or calling has a much wider understanding.

St Paul talks to the Corinthians about this more general call when he writes “Now there are varieties of gifts but the same spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Every one of us is called to use the gift or gifts we’ve been given to help build up the body of Christ. That “building up” can never be confined to what we do on Sunday. Building up is about using the whole of life, including Monday to Saturday. The very act of working or being at home, school, work, leisure is vocational. Our daily behaviour becomes a sacrament and an offering.

The realisation that we are being called comes in many different ways. For some, it’s like a sudden flash of light as came to St. Paul on the Damascus road. But for others, it’s just not that clear. In my earlier work as a Director of Ordinands and Vocation, I listened to many people who described their sense of calling as a feeling of discomfort. “Like having a toothache” someone said -their “yes” a moving towards a sense of peace and clarity.
Perhaps, as you read this, you know what God is calling you to do. Perhaps you’re still searching. But remember, God has made you for a purpose. And God will work that out, but in his own time, not yours.

With my prayers and blessing,
Trevor Willmott
Assistant Bishop