We’re all called to different things, as believers. We have different gifts, different scopes of influence, and varying periods of time in which to exercise them. Understand that when we speak of God’s call, I am not talking specifically about the kinds of things that you and I would commonly term “ministry” –the pastorate, overseas missions, etc.
Let us not be responsible for propagating the myth that some professions are inherently holier than others. As someone once said, “The only Christian work is good work, well done.” Remember, the first task God gave man was to till the ground, not start a youth ministry.
God calls some of us to write fiction, some to pastor a flock, and others to collect the garbage. Some of us were made to be vases in king’s houses – others to be on the bargain shelf at the Pottery Barn. It’s the Maker’s call, really. But as varied as these callings may be, they share many of the same characteristics.
A couple of weeks back, we established that Saul was clearly called by God – clearly called to be “captain over his [God’s] inheritance,” as Samuel put it. Examining that calling in greater depth serves two purposes: first, it teaches us something about the means and effect of the call of God upon our own lives – something of which each and every believer ought to be conscious. Second, it paints a picture of stark contrast to Saul’s later failures.
The context of Saul’s calling is something as mundanely agrarian as going in search of his father’s missing donkeys. After searching literally high and low, Saul and his servant make a last-ditch attempt to find them by consulting with Samuel. It’s small thing, the sort of triviality that doesn’t usually merit a footnote in the annals of history. At least it wouldn’t, if Samuel hadn’t been expecting Saul.
God’s call is providentially ordered
Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel: “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines.
For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.” When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” (1Sa 9:15-17)
There is poetry in this; that a man should be through the meanness of mundane tasks be summoned to so high a calling. But really, that’s the underlying poetry of all things mundane: that they are not truly mundane. That your work, your play, and the little stories you tell yourself at night all matter. The hobbies you collect and discard throughout your years of toil matter. They are all tools that the Maker is using to shape and mold you into a useful vessel.
Beyond some very straightforward commands found in Scripture, no occupation is more sacred or honorable than another. Saul was looking for donkeys. David was watching sheep. Jesus of Nazareth spent thirty years carving wood and laying stone, his hands callused long before they were ever pierced.
Rejoice in your work, be intentional about your hobbies, whole-hearted about your interests. The petty pittance of your everyday life may actually be the poetry of Providence.