July 1st marked the beginning of a new conference year for all United Methodist clergy/congregations. This past Sunday some churches were told the news that their pastor(s) were appointed for another year while other congregations heard a sermon from a brand new minister. A “typical” first sermon in a new congregation involves the pastor sharing his or her journey of being called into ministry. The whole process of being called is often times very scary and takes a good amount of courage but what does it truly mean to be called?
As an ordained pastor within the United Methodist Church I had to discern my calling. I had to pray, talk with others, and really decide if God was calling me to full-time ministry but this idea of being called is not explicit to full-time ministry. The truth is that God calls all Christians.
In the Greek language of the New Testament, the word for “called” is kletos which is similar to the Greek word for “church,” which is ekklesia, meaning a calling out of. We Christians who make up the Church are called by God to learn God’s will, to turn away from sin, and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This calling is not exclusive to any one person or group.
1 Peter 1:13-16 states, Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
You are a beautiful child of God called to not only share the Good News of Jesus but to receive the blessings that God offers to all of God’s precious children…YOU!!!! The discernment process of ones calling is forever ongoing but we must be willing to step into the unknown waters so that God’s blessings may flow around and through us.
Being called to a specific action or ministry can be a very daunting experience but the blessing of all is knowing it is the greatest “calling” that you will ever receive. Saying yes to God brings about love, peace, and joy that surpass all understanding.
As always, thank you for reading this far (you made it!) and I leave you with these words from 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.”