What does it mean to be called by God? Usually, we think only of ministers as having a calling. Occasionally, professionals such as doctors and teachers will speak about their careers as their callings. But when we think of all lifelong careers, we often call them vocations. The Latin root for vocation is vocare, which is also the root of words like voice, vocal, and invoke.
Jeremiah’s calling from God doesn’t begin with an aptitude test for a career match. It begins with hearing the voice of the Lord and then being the voice of God’s message. In this same way, God calls us all, no matter our vocation.
The occasion of our call may not be as dramatic as Jeremiah’s, but God calls us to share the good news to our hurting world and to be God’s hands and feet as we answer the call. Perhaps instead of thinking of a calling only as a career, we can consider our shared vocation: listening for God’s voice and finding the courage to use our voice for God. In the final verse of today’s scripture passage, the Lord says, “Look, I am putting my words in your mouth. This day I appoint you over nations and territories, to uproot and to tear down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (tib). God’s word through us has tremendous power. God’s word has the power to save.
God, help me to hear your voice when you speak to me. Give me the courage to use my voice to share your message to a hurting world. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? What excuses are you making to ignore your vocation?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges and violence. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? Do you accept or reject the call God has placed on their lives?
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