BUT I DON’T FEEL CALLED
Paul, the Apostle, said, “Don’t be unwise (vague), but understand (firmly grasp) what
the will of the Lord is.” Eph 5:17 In a sequence of three “calls”, I would like to present
a “firm grasp” and a precise answer to the excuse, “But I don’t feel called.”
CALL TO MISSION
God reveals Himself in the Word as an outgoing, missionary God. “For God so loved
the world...” “He is not willing that any perish...” We are created in His image and
likeness. Thus, we have been called to mission.
CALL TO THE BODY OF CHRIST
The Spirit distributes—as He chooses—a diversity of gifts. As the individual
“exercises” within the Body, it becomes evident to him and the Body which gift(s) he
has been equipped with by the Holy Spirit. As he functions within that Body those
spiritual gifts are developed.
CALL TO A LOCATION
Everyone is born to live somewhere! We grow up and become a part of that culture.
But when one (and the church) senses his abilities and giftings in relating to people
of other cultures; his facility with language; his ability to communicate the simplicity
of the Gospel; his heart beating with God’s, “not willing that any perish.”, he sees
the opportunity to move.
A MISSIONARY CALL
As these three “calls” are merged into one, they constitute a missionary call. A
missionary is a Christian called (just like all others) to make disciples of all nations;
he manifests social, professional and spiritual gifts appropriate to bridging cultural
distinctives; he is open to the location change necessary to fulfill that call.
But it is at this point that many lose out, for they have somehow been trained—"NOT
until I hear a voice from Heaven!” or, “When I see the handwriting on the wall!” We
can’t counter that with a simplistic: “Go where the needs are!” for there are
thousands of needy ministries around the world asking for us to come.
How, then, do we get from “here” to “there”? From where we are now to where God
wants us to be? A look at the Book of Acts with this question in mind will give us at
least six different ways that call to location occurred, and does occur today:
SUPERNATURAL DIRECTION: Acts 13:2 is clear that church leaders heard the Holy
Spirit say, “I want Barnabas and Saul.” Later, Paul had a vision of the Macedonia man
appealing, “Come over and help.” Acts 16:9
“SANCTIFIED” COMMON SENSE: Paul’s second journey, however, was initiated by
a sensible, responsible plan to go back and check up on how the brothers were doing
in the cities they had previously visited. Acts 15:36
From a vast number of unreached people groups that have been identified in recent
years—even delineating their degree of openness to the Gospel, a friend of mine
made a logical determination to prepare himself to minister in one of them. He, and
his family, with their church’s blessing, were able to leave within a year.
CIRCUMSTANTIAL GUIDANCE: There wasn’t a Christian in Jerusalem following the
martyrdom of Stephen who cried out, “But I don’t feel called!” When the persecution
came, they split! Acts 8:1; 11:19 Also, when Claudius commanded all Jews to leave
Rome, Aquila didn’t “go into a season of prayer” with Priscilla over it; they left! Acts
A pastor friend in central California had established a good ministry among a group
of “field workers”. When he heard they had been picked up and bussed back to
Mexico, his first response was disappointment. When I pointed out that circumstances
had just sent out his first missionaries, his countenance brightened.
INVITATION BY BELIEVERS: It appears the Macedonia “man” turned out to be a
woman! One Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira! And when she and her
household were baptized, she “constrained Paul and his team to stay there.” Acts
Third World Christians, today, are standing—so to speak—on a Macedonia shore.
They are crying out a new Macedonia Call: Come over and help us. Teach us the
Word in such a way that we can go out and teach others. 2 Tim 2:2 And as God is
raising up Third World Christians as the new missionary force, the very best thing we
in America can do is respond to their invitation to come!
SENT BY A CHURCH: When the church in Jerusalem heard of the revival going on
in Antioch, they sent Barnabas to “check it out.” Acts 11:22 A key to responsible
action and accountability is the church’s initial involvement with the missionary call.
Too often, the church leadership is the “last to know” when one or another of their
“members” goes cross-culturally. Church leadership, identify, train, send and support
those members of your Body “gifted” in ministry to the uttermost parts.
A young church of twenty adults in Vietnam has a married couple and two single
ladies (twin sisters) ready to be sent out. Their question is how do we (the remaining
16) properly care for them?
SENT BY MISSIONARY LEADERS: It is clear from Luke’s writings, that as Paul’s
ministry team grew (at one point eight men were traveling with him), it became his
responsibility to send them here or there. Timothy and Erastus were sent to
Macedonia from Ephesus. Acts 19:22
When we first applied to Wycliffe Bible Translators we requested to be sent to
Columbia. We had been there; had talked with the principal; he wanted us; we had
a good “feeling” about the place. When the Wycliffe board decided to accept me as a
missionary teacher, though, they saw a greater need for us in Peru. We allowed them
to guide us in this way.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT
In a writing of this length, it would be futile to think to cover the enormity of this
subject—all the ramifications of knowing God’s call to missions:
The integrity of the upright shall guide them;
Conditional (if/them) guidance;
The sovereignty of God;
The will of satan;
“Let this mind be in you...”;
A voice behind you saying, “This is the way...”;
Thy Word is a Lamp to my feet.
Subjects as these, and more, bring us the whole Counsel of God. But one final thought
that I believe encompasses all considerations of His call on my life:
LET THE PEACE OF CHRIST RULE (ACT AS UMPIRE) CONTINUALLY IN YOUR
HEARTS—DECIDING AND SETTLING WITH FINALITY ALL QUESTIONS THAT
RISE IN YOUR MINDS... Col 3:15 AMP
“My peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you.” The peace that Christ
gives is not pictured in the calm, pastoral scene of sheep by still waters, nor of a
newborn infant warm in the safe arms of its mother.
through a mountain gorge, rolling now across the open plains. There is a deep-flowing,
uncertainty. The winds of adversity can whip up the waves to white-cap ferocity. Yet
the river keeps moving by the force of the current. His peace in my heart is that
current, assuring me that I am in the flow of His will.
READ more stories by Neal and Yvonne Pirolo!