The ultimate word on calling was the first one given:
God created human beings;
he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
(Gen 1.27-28, The Message)
This is a mandate on a grand scale – reproduce
and take dominion
These two injunctions are intertwined. If Adam & Eve did not multiply, there would be no one to rule. If we don’t embrace the full mission to rule, there is no need to populate the earth. Apparently the fulfillment requires a lot of hands, because at latest count we have 7.7 billion people.
At the other bookend of time, Jesus tells us about the accountability at the end of the age:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (Mt 25.34-40, The Message)
The whole country watched recently as Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas. If you followed the news, you saw videos and heard stories of people being rescued (see picture above), given temporary housing, being fed and provided for. Many of those really needed the help – they were in the path because they did not have anywhere else to go.
Does this make it clear what the calling of a Christian ought to be? In a way yes – it frames up a range of actions. These two passages bracket the spectrum of human responsibility. We are called on the one hand to take stewardship of all creation and then on the other hand to help meet the subsistence needs of even the most undistinguished individuals around us.
But there is so much more to be said – as we noted, there are thousands of callings. This blog will now embark on an exploration. We will pursue the examples that come from the narratives and notable lives found in Scripture. (As we have noted before, those stories have been the fruitful mine from which this blog has drawn its richest wisdom.)
Our goal will be to develop an inventory of callings. It is our hope to contemporize the creative dynamics and the motivational context, not just assemble an academic catalog. Join us next week!