Wednesday, May 19, 2010
"Called" As Excuse
A friend of the family adopted a baby a few years ago. He and his wife are Caucasian and the baby is African American, so occasionally they get asked interesting questions. I believe his favorite one to answer is, “What country did you adopt from?” He loves responding to this one because his answer is, “The country of Mississippi.”I wish this excuse were just limited to "some crazy, difficult mission for God." I have heard it used as an excuse for not pitching in to clean up after a church luncheon. I have also heard it used in the positive to justify the most outrageous behavior. For hideous example, Jim Jones certainly believed he was "called" to bed many of his parishioner women and engender mass suicide amongst his followers. Frankly, "called" is not a word I care for much.
There are a tremendous amount of orphans in the US and this is simply his slightly amusing away of drawing attention to the kids across the street that need to be adopted too. I was talking about adoption a few weeks ago with a different friend at dinner. I mentioned that someone I knew had adopted a special needs child from Europe. They purposely decided to adopt an older special needs child and give them a new home and a new family.
As soon as I started that story, my friend blurted out something Christians the world over say when faced with tremendous love like this, “You’re called to that.” Then he breathed a tremendous sigh of relief and went back to eating.
He was comforted by that sentence in part because of what it really means. When you hear about another Christian going off on some crazy, difficult mission for God, you get a small ping of guilt. We’re a very guilty people some times and in this particular case that guilt stems from thinking that you should also be adopting special needs kids. What are you doing right now in your life that is holy or big or adventurous? Nothing? Better throw out that get out of jail free card, “You’re called to that.”
I don't think God calls us to specific tasks - rather I think He calls us to be certain kind of people regardless of the task. We often confuse "equipping" and "calling." Not everyone has the intellectual equipment to be a simultaneous language translator. It should be noted; however, that just everyone is equipped to wash dishes after that luncheon. And that matters because we are definitely called to be humble, which means we may have to wash dishes from time to time, even if we think it beneath us.
"God's will for my life" is far less about what I do and far more about who I am. I also think that many people do "some crazy, difficult mission for God" for the wrong reason - rather than as humble service, they do it to attract attention to themselves. I think this is especially true for those that work so hard to sing and dance in front of the congregation - I know it was true for me when I sought so hard to be in professional ministry.
Being a Christian means a lot of things - and one of them is a deep examination of who we are, no matter what we do.