Thursday, January 10, 2008

The call of God...changing?



Many times my ministerial colleagues and I have discussed the fact that there are a whole lot of people out there doing full time ministry who are not really called, and a whole lot of people not in full time ministry who should be and are convinced for some reason that the call has lifted or been revoked. Today it's the latter that I want to comment on.

I find people's behavior bizzarre though I do understand the rationale, I never-the-less don't find it biblical. Either you are called or you aren't. The Bible says that the gifts and call of God are irrevocable. God doesn't give a call and then take it back dependent upon whatever's going on in your life.

Specifically with women, I see a whole lot of compromise. Most of the time this compromise happens surrounding a man. With men their temptation is usually women or money/greed. Strangely enough with women I don't see the money excuse as much but we are a sucker every time for men. Not that I don't like men...I do, and specifically one man, the one I'm married to!

Many times I see single women who run hard after the call of God on their lives and then they want marriage (or children) and feel somehow that it's okay for the call to come to an end if the marriage would "require it" to do so. How can something be God if it takes you away from the call of God? There is nothing more important than the call of God. Some of these women might say, "well, I was called to be married..." Okay, well what about what you were first called to? Does God negate a call because of a call? We should never get entangled with anything or anyone who will not understand the call of God on our lives and expect us to abandon it or put it on the shelf. Darlene Betzer was interviewed a few months ago in an article and talked about this and I sent her an e-mail telling her what an absolutely incredibly refreshing thing it was to read her words on this subject. She was basically talking about how she would never, ever hold Dan back from anything ministry wise or expect him to alter or abandon the call, and likewise he would never do that to her. It's about a life abandoned to God. When she e-mailed me back to thank me for the note she said, "yes, we need to be reminded that we are HIS and HIS ALONE." (meaning Jesus) The issue is, most women abandon themselves to a man, but not Jesus.

Most people will think this is perfectly understandable when it comes to a man searching for a woman, but what about a woman seeking a man? In the man's case if he were to get involved with a woman who would take him away from his call, everyone would say, "tsk tsk...he's making a mistake...she's going to draw him away from God's will..." but in the woman's case many would say, "praise the Lord, she's going into her new season!" Sadly enough when a man does this it's a tragedy but when a woman does it it's sometimes viewed as a testimony!

Many people talk about seasons but I don't see anything in scripture referring to seasons when it comes to the call of God. There's a time for peace, a time for war, a time to mourn, a time to mend, but does it say anywhere in scripture..."a time to abandon the call?" No, I don't see that.

There are many people out there serving in full time ministry who shouldn't be there and perhaps they have discovered that and it's a good thing they have abandoned their post where they never belonged. But there are just as many who are called to preach, or evangelize, or go on the mission field - and they walked away for an earthly relationship. And the terrible thing is - there will always be a fire shut up in their bones, with no where to go but burn inside. What a horrible feeling.

Paul said, in I Corinthians 9:15-16 : "I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"

I would rather die...

than not preach the gospel.

I wish I could grab every young women who is called to preach the gospel and hold them hostage for a weekend while myself and about ten of my women pastor friends have them in our care and can implore them about them how vitally important this is. I wish we could do nothing but share real stories with them all weekend and have them read Oswald Chambers! His writings on the call are just so good...

Are marriage, children and other things in this life important? Yes. Of course. But the thing is, after you have all that (and yes, it is rewarding! Hopefully you know I feel this way from reading my blog and seeing how crazy I am about my family!) if you are not continuing the call of God on your life you will be miserable no matter how much you love that man or how much you love those children. For the love of earthly people no matter how special they are cannot compare to the call of God! You were given this precious call from the very foundations of the world. Before you were every born...before you were ever Mrs. So and So. Before you were ever somebody's Mom. Before any of that you were God's daughter and His called one.

I have many women friends who are following His call upon their lives. I have several others who have had to put gifts and callings on the back burner, in hopes that one day before they die they will be able to pick them back up again and do something with them. That is...if it doesn't hinder the person they married too much...and if they have time in between watching their grandbabies...

I am reallly grateful for the choices I've made. I could have made a tragic mistake and married the wrong person and right now I'd either be:

1) Divorced and trying to find a way to fill the call despite divorce papers.
2) Married but secretly miserable.

One time I was in a minister's meeting and these types of things were being discussed and an older pastor stood up and said, "well, here's how I believe...I think when a woman gets married, the call on her life changes, and her desires change." That sounds nice and maybe his wife flowed with that but here's the thing - according to the Bible I don't see a "call" to the ministry could have changed. If her desires changed, to that I would say - when any of us want to get married and especially when we are in the process of marriage it's usually what we desire at THAT TIME more than anything else. But once you are settled into marriage and your greatest desire isn't getting down the aisle, then comes the time when you have to face up to what you are going to do with this calling on your life.

I guess the bottom line is...we sing,

"He (Jesus) is all I need...
He's all I need
Jesus is all I need...

I personally don't think anybody can say Jesus is all they need unless Jesus is all they have. Is Jesus really all we need? Is the call of God precious and sacred - or is it as fleeting a thing as working a job at Chick-Fil-A and now it's not your season to work there anymore?

I believe your job is what's your paid for - but your CALL is what you're MADE FOR.

Many people have asked me the question, "if Larry died, would you remarry?"

Well, first of all no one can accurately know what they'd do in a situation unless they were in it, but I can say this much totally, 100% definitively. Unless I could marry someone who I could 100% flow with the call of God on my life, who would (as Larry pledged to me on our wedding day, "keep my dreams, call and desires as important as his very own") then NO.

No amount of companionship, sex, or security is worth the call of God that is on my life. I would never sell out the call of God upon my life. And you can take that to the bank.

Why are women so willing and eager to lose themselves in a man?

By the way, one book I'd like to recommend that would be helpful to every single girl is, "Don't be that Girl" by Dr. Travis Stork. Seriously enlightening.

2 comments:

Angie said...

Amen! I put many hours in at the church and my husband has to help with the housework, homework, laundry, meals, etc...or there is no way that I could be in ministry and do what I do. We both realize the call of God on our family as a Unit and we strive to make it work. It simply cannot be one spouse giving up who they are called to be, so that they are one can shine for others to see.
It is so important for dating couples to carefully take a step back and evaluate the plan of their lives before choosing their spouse. If my husband expected me to stay home all day and only speak to our children, I would not have been able to marry him. I've known since I was a teenager that God has called me to minister to children and that I would be working in fulltime ministry. I wasn't exactly sure how the 5W's would fall into place, but I knew that they would...and as our Father always promises...He's brought the plan to pass in a mighty way.

Anonymous said...

One well-meaning lady said that I needed to stay home with the kids when I have them (hopefully this year :o).), because being a mom and wife should be my #1 calling - and it's not good enough that my husband works 2nd shift and is thrilled about the idea of having the mornings to bond with his kids. Three things here:

a. She basically insulted my husband's ability to care for children, not to mention our decision to BOTH be involved parents and continue to be involved in our and each other's respective ministries/jobs (as much as I can be involved in his, since he works in a group home for minors!).

b. She either insulted God, implying that He didn't realize that I was a woman when He called me, OR

c. She insulted my ability to hear from God.

Because I agree. You're either called or you're not. And there's nothing in Scripture that says a woman who is called must fall in love with and marry a pastor, either, lol!!!