October 5 I Wednesday
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’”
As we discern our calling for mission, it must come out of prayer and discernment. We are not to run ahead into ministry without first being called; this is actually a principle that we see through the Scripture, especially in the New Testament. In Acts 9, when Paul was on the road to Damascus and became a Christian, he was given a distinct calling. Jesus revealed to him that he would be the chosen instrument to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, but it was 13 years before he embarked on his first missionary journey. Although Paul testified right away to the reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was 13 years of waiting. In Acts 13, the elders of the church at Antioch came together for a time of worshipping, praying and fasting. During that time, the Holy Spirit revealed, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Our calling comes out of a life of worship and prayer.
I remember in the spring of 1998, Pastor Tony Campolo was invited to speak at a Mission Conference that year. I was sitting in the balcony and he issued a challenge to anyone in the room who was a young person—I was about 20 years old at that time—to give up a year of their life and serve in the inner city. Then, he gave an altar call to those who chose to lay down a year of their life for missions. I remember my heart burning within me; a desire, a call, started to be birthed within me. I laid it before some mature Christians in my life who could help me discern, and they confirmed that God was calling me to it. I then went and served a year in the inner city of Philadelphia, without realizing it would turn into two decades. Eventually, I returned to Toronto and sensed a call to serve in urban ministry. These all took place in the context of a worship service.
Discerning our calling is not to be taken lightly, because a calling will be tested. If we are not called by God to go into a specific mission field, and it has not been confirmed by other mature Christians, we should not step out onto that mission field. Going into the field without God’s calling is a recipe for disappointment and disaster, because it is like stepping into a war without training or preparation or God giving us the resources.
Like Paul, we may be called, but it may not be immediately. The only way for us to know is through discernment and prayer.
Prayer: Dear God, I ask that You give me understanding to discern Your calling for me. Whatever and wherever You may be directing me towards, I pray that I will serve You with faithfulness and excellence. Thank You, Lord.