Spotlight 17/2018: called to a higher purpose?
Are there any who are pompous, arrogant, or narcissistic among us? — No! God’s call to follow is a call to faith and service. So explains District Apostle Raúl Montes de Oca (Brazil)—with a glance into the lexicon, the Old Testament, and daily life.
In the dictionary, the term ‘calling’ is described with two meanings that we can easily apply to our relationship with God:
- on one hand, it is an appeal, an inspiration, which comes from God and which we as human beings can feel.
- on the other hand, it is defined as a special ability or inclination which a person feels within himself as a mandate to lead a particular lifestyle or perform a particular task.
The first meaning is confirmed by the words that Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “I, therefore, […], beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4: 1).
The second meaning is clearly illustrated when we look to the conduct of the prophet Samuel. Already in early years, the prophet demonstrated that he had been called to faith. The Lord had called him already before his resolute response: “Speak, for Your servant hears” (from 1 Samuel 3: 10).
We were called through the mystery of election. And now God expects us to respond to Him in a manner analogous to that of the prophet. How does this occur? Through our faithfulness to God.
Faith is a resolute commitment on the part of a human being. Because we believe, we refrain from building our lives exclusively on our own, and instead build upon Him.
For a Christian, belief in God is inseparably connected with belief in Christ, His beloved Son, the incarnate Word, and our Saviour.
- Consequently, our calling to faith is a vocation to encounter Jesus Christ, in order to remain faithful to Him, our Redeemer.
- The gospel according to John 1: 29-42 provides an account of the calling of two disciples by John the Baptist. They heard the words of the prophet: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And thereupon they followed Jesus as His first disciples.
- To make our call and election sure (2 Peter 1: 10) also means that we must remain faithful to Christ in the way we love our neighbour. This cannot be dissociated from our love for God.
- The call to faith also helps us to persevere. This is not merely the effect of a stubborn spirit that refuses to give up, but is rather associated with other values, such as faithfulness to God and Christ, for example.
- The call to faith is also a call to be with Jesus Christ where He reveals Himself. “Rabbi […], where are You staying?” asked the two disciples. He replied, “Come and see.” In every divine service we hear this invitation of the Lord to come and see. Being faithful to Christ also entails heeding His call and coming to Him!
At every encounter with Christ we renew our calling, and are also to profess to others that we have found the Messiah, just as Andrew did after His first encounter with the Lord.
Our faithfulness to Christ must also be linked to our daily efforts to further cement our calling and decision to follow, namely by obeying His teaching, accepting His messengers, and joyfully pursuing the paths by which He leads us to the desired goal.
Raúl Montes de Oca