As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:1

 

We tend to use the language of calling or vocation in two ways. In secular terms, “calling/vocation” can be the equivalent of “profession” or “career,” as in “Teaching in her vocation,” though this language is not very common anymore. For the most part, we reserve the language of calling for people who engage in full-time church ministry or missionary work. They have a special calling. The rest of us don’t.

A man cooking in a public market.The first verse of Ephesians 4 uses the language of calling quite differently. When Paul urges us to “live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received,” he is not speaking only to church leaders. He’s talking to every follower of Jesus. Calling is something that each and every Christian has received from God, both individually and corporately as a member of Christ’s body.

So, then, what exactly is our calling? In Ephesians 4:1, “calling” emerges from what we have learned in chapters 1-3 about God, God’s work through Christ, and our participation in this work. We discover our calling through the fact that God has blessed us, chosen us, adopted us as his beloved children, lavished his grace upon us, redeemed us, forgiven us, made known his plans to us, sealed us with his Spirit, raised us with Christ, saved us, created us anew in Christ, joined us to his people, enlisted us in his cosmic mission, and rooted us in his love (1:3-9, 13; 2:5, 8, 10, 19; 3:10, 17). God’s gracious actions through Christ call us into a redeemed and transformed life of service.

On Monday, we’ll examine further our calling according to Ephesians. For now, I encourage you to reflect on the following questions.

Something to Think About:

Do you sense God calling you to participate in his work of redemption? Why or why not?

What has helped you to see your life in this way? Or, what keeps you from seeing your life in this way?

How are you already responding to your calling? How might your life begin to change if you took this calling seriously?

Something to Do:

Set aside fifteen minutes to read carefully Ephesians 1-3. As you read, pay attention to how these chapters reveal your calling.

Prayer:

Gracious God, thank you for your astounding work of redeeming and renewing all things. Thank you for including me in this work by your grace, saving me and recreating me for good works that you have prepared for me.

Help me, dear Lord, to hear and understand the calling you have given to me. Teach me to see my whole life in light of this calling. Help me to learn how to live out my calling in every facet of my life: as a worker, as a student, as a family member, as a citizen, as a member of your church. Even this day, may the calling you have given me influence my life in practical ways. By your Spirit, help me to see how I might live a life worthy of my calling today. Amen.

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
Discerning God’s guidance for how you work