“Action Amy,” a nickname I earned on a mission trip for my constant drive for activity, didn’t begin as a compliment, but I’ve certainly lived up to it. It describes me exactly — I’m always planning what to do next.
Because of my “doer” wiring, I’ve often mistaken my highest calling as something I’m supposed to do rather than some place I’m supposed to be.
The very word “calling” is fraught, isn’t it? It feels like a word saved only for special people and those paid to do ministry.
One dictionary definition of calling is “a profession or occupation,” but the one we most commonly think of is “a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career.” Christians identify God as the source of that strong urge, so the word calling sometimes seems too big for us.
But in today’s story, found in Mark 10:46b-50, Jesus calls a very ordinary man.
“As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means ‘son of Timaeus’), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
“Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’
“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’
“So they called to the blind man, ‘Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.’ Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus” (NIV).
Bartimaeus wasn’t anyone special. In fact, he would have been considered sub-ordinary by a culture who mistakenly prejudged his blindness as sinful. That could have been a barrier, yet when Jesus called, Bartimaeus rushed to Jesus’ side. Bartimaeus didn’t let anything deter him from Jesus’ calling.
What barriers or obstacles have kept you from God’s calling on your life?
Sometimes doubt keeps us stuck, wondering if we really heard God or just imagined it. We can even doubt God would want to use us. Another stumbling block to calling is self-doubt, feeling certain that someone else is better or more equipped. Comparison kills calling.
Some of us have let our callings die because of hard circumstances, the voices of naysayers or the diversion of busyness in our day-to-day lives. The dreams we once held dear have faded until they’re fuzzy and distant.
The biggest obstacle to fulfilling our calling is that we often misidentify what our first calling really is. Our highest calling isn’t what we usually think. It’s not a job we do, a title we earn, or even a check we write.
Our first calling is to respond to Jesus and go to Him, just like Bartimaeus did. We’re called to come close.
While our faith leads us to accomplish good works, our first and highest calling is simply to be near Jesus. When we are, everything else — all the doing — begins to fall in place.
Lord, I’ve often confused Your calling for my doing. Although faith includes action, my first and highest calling is to be near You. Today, I hear and accept Your calling. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 84:3-4, “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.” (NIV)
Psalm 145:18, “The LORD is near to all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (MEV)
Today’s devotion includes an excerpt from Amy Carroll’s new book, Exhale. If you’ve been running on empty, Amy and her co-author, Cheri Gregory, will take you through a process to lose who you’re not, love who you are, and live your one life well. Pick up a copy today!
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If you want to be released from the overwhelming pressure of trying to be all things to all people, all the time, visit Amy’s blog today. She’s sharing how you can experience a life-shift with a group of friends, and there’s a fun giveaway of Exhale resources to help you get started.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What have you considered your highest calling? How does it change your perspective to think of your highest calling as being close to Jesus?
What other actions in your life might you take if you were to step into your highest calling first? Join the conversation, and share your thoughts in our comments section!
© 2019 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.