There is no higher calling than to be a missionary, right? Well, then there is that whole ministry/pastor calling, and how does that fit into the scheme of things? What about the brain surgeon or the special education teacher? Surely those must be the highest callings, right? Hmmm…this calling thing is a little tricky!
The truth is that in the world of missions people often hold this view at least subconsciously, if not consciously. There is some reason that missionaries are held up on a pedestal as if their calling is higher than the calling of any other person, Christian or non-Christian alike. Even those called specifically to missions as a career service will tell you that they once held this notion as truth, even on a small scale. They will also quickly admit that they learned that it is a hard calling that often involves sacrifice, but it is no higher than any other calling that anybody can receive upon his/her life.
As referenced in a recent article I read, there can be two perspectives on calling to missions. One is the idea that the Great Commission calls everyone to missions so it is less of a question of if you are called and more of a question of how you are called (long-term service versus a calling to support others who are going long-term). The second perspective is to view missions as a specific calling for one’s life, but certainly no higher than anyone else’s calling. While those not called specifically to the mission field may be thinking they have little in common with those who are, the very thing that binds them together is that God does indeed have a specific calling for their lives. There is no better sweet spot than discovering what that might be and then moving forward in faith in seeking to fulfill it.
In reflection on my own calling to missions, it has been a strong step by step revealing of God’s will. One would look at my resume and think that there were short stints along the way that certainly must have indicated reasons that I somehow missed God’s calling upon my life and then I sought to get back on track. I can look back and see His hand in each and every step of guidance so that the next clue and networking opportunity would arise. I sense that the very same thing occurs when one is becoming a doctor, nurse, teacher, attorney, banker, etc. IF the individual is seeking God’s plan for life.
In addition, many may see missions as a higher calling because of the support raising piece that is involved if a missionary is to go serve and needs to raise funds to do so. That doesn’t make it a higher calling, but rather, it is just a different calling! In the article referenced earlier, there are five basic principles that help one to discover his/her calling. One of these deals with the idea that the call of God is something that grows on you over time, and this is one of the only reasons missionaries can even consider raising support. Being aware that something is not only your calling but also something about which you are very passionate means that you will do things against your general nature, such as asking others for funds. It is the same reason that a doctor would consider taking the time for medical school as well as the debt that usually comes with it!
As a missions mobilizer, I deeply desire that every individual called to be a missionary would find his calling. I also want every Christian to find his/her calling to missions. Finally, I pray for every human being to discover a calling and purpose in this life—first to the calling to glorify God and worship Him through saving faith in Jesus Christ and secondly to a career path that will bring Him glory and bring them joy. May God grant this according to Ephesians 2:10 so that we can all walk in the works that He has prepared for us…and reach our highest calling!
Check out the article referenced, and contact Propempo if you would like free coaching on finding your calling!