TO BE CALLED
To be called is to be special. To be called by God to some mission or purpose makes me important. I am called as an apostle and therefore I have value. I am called as an evangelist and therefore I have meaning. I am called to be a deacon and therefore I have respect. I am called to be an elder and therefore people look up to me.
With a calling we have status. We have a position. We can find meaning for our lives. We all want to be special and for Christians the easiest way to find that special feeling is to be called of God. We can be called to a rank or position like pastor or elder. We can be called to a gift or ministry like prophecy or mission work. With a calling we have status. We have a position. We can find meaning for our lives. Built on this basic human need we have Bible schools, pastoral training and any number of titles (bishops, elders, popes, pastors, vicars, deacons, missionaries, evangelists, elect vessels). There is a career structure for men and women who want to be important for God. Become an assistant pastor at a small church and do well. Perhaps you will become a senior pastor at a larger church.
And all the time you can feel good about yourself because you are doing God’s work. You are doing something more important than merely earning a living and providing for your family. You are a Christian minister. These are the people we Christians look up to and respect. We send our keen young converts off to become Christian somebody’s. They are not just a believer. They are a believer with a ministry, a title and a calling.
There is just one small flaw with this view. It is complete nonsense. This fallen system comes from our complete ignorance of who a believer is and what the church is. The structure of the modern church is based on the assumption that the church is like any other earthly institution. The church needs a structure, a management board and a mission statement. The church needs proper accounts and an annual return to companies’ house.
This is our vision of the church and it sucks.
The kingdoms of this world all operate a hierarchy which is some variation of this.
The modern church operates a hierarchy which is a variation of this.
The king of kings, the creator of heaven and earth, has a much simpler organisational chart.
The church is not an earthy structure. It is not a building of brick and stone. The church is the living revelation of Christ on the earth. She is the bride that Christ chose for himself before the first words were spoken, before the seas were separated from land, before there was light. Before anything was created God chose and loved his people. And he calls all his people the beloved of God. With this calling is a wealth for all believers. The following statements are for the entire church.
He called them in grace to liberty in Christ (Galatians).
He called them in holiness by the gospel of Christ to share his glory (I Thessalonians).
He called them the holy ones to join his fellowship, to be one with him, to be wise and noble by his Spirit, to peace (I Corinthians).
He called them for his purpose, holy ones justified and glorified, sons of the living God (Romans).
He called us as one body (Colossians).
He called us to a high calling and filled us with his riches (Ephesians).
He called us with a holy calling for his purpose and by his grace (2 Timothy).
He called us to receive an eternal inheritance (Hebrews).
He called us by his own name (James).
He called us out of darkness into his light, to walk in his footsteps and to receive an eternal blessing (I Peter).