Living Out Our Callings
by Paula Sulzle
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Let’s end as we began.
Daughter. Wife. Mother. Sister. Daughter-in-law. Sister-in-law. Mother-in-law. Grandma. Aunt. Cousin. Friend. Homemaker. Employee. Employer. Volunteer. Caretaker. Team member. Group leader.
We all have a variety of vocations to which God has called us. We also have been called to live out our callings as women. Our previous devotions laid the foundation of God’s unique design for men and women. Each of our own interests and gifts often determines how we carry out the responsibilities within each vocation. It is such a joy and privilege to hold these titles, but at times they also give us challenges or cause us to question if we are being faithful to what God has called us to. How can we live out our callings faithfully?
Connecting to the Source
For years I have taken a great interest in personality quizzes, gifts assessments, and—most recently—the CliftonStrengths assessment. What value is there in these assessments? I find them helpful to learn more about myself, something that will put to words what I already know through my feelings and reactions towards life’s circumstances and events. Sometimes we might turn to personal or professional development books. These are tools that can help us grow in our relationships and help us understand better the behavior of others. They can teach us how to work well with others in various realms of our life.
Yet I think we can all agree that any secular sources we use to help us hone our strengths are not fully worthwhile unless we understand our identity in Christ. We need to connect to the source where we find our guide for life: God’s inspired Word.
We need to connect to the source where we find our guide for life: God’s inspired Word. Let’s look at the list from 1 Peter again. This list shows us our worth.
Let’s look at the list from 1 Peter again. This list shows us our worth.
A chosen people: God loved the world so that he gave his one and only Son. God also loved you so that he gave you faith and brought you to himself through the waters of holy baptism.
A royal priesthood: Not only were you made to be royalty—adopted into the royal family in heaven—but you were also anointed to the priesthood of all believers, giving you full access to God through Jesus and equipping you to live a life of service. It is now our mission to proclaim the Lord’s greatness.
A holy nation: You were made holy by the blood of Jesus and are part of a body of believers that works together.
God’s special possession: God calls us each by name; he calls us his own. We are his whom he takes great care to provide for and nourish.
Serving in His Kingdom
God made you unique and chose specifically for you all the qualities, traits, and gifts that will enable you to serve his kingdom. As you consider how to carry out your calling, take into account your strengths and the strengths of those around you. And yes, consider your weaknesses too. You can rest assured that it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).
It can sometimes be a challenge to look at our strengths with humility. Yet we strive to carry out our callings and serve others, but not out of selfish pride or gain. We want all we do to be for God’s glory and for his good purpose. In this way, we are a reflection of God’s love. God will delight in the works of service done to his glory.
Because of this, we continue to test our desires and actions against the true and inerrant Word of God as we serve in his kingdom. “But whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).
Embracing Your Unique Calling
How do you embrace your unique calling in your home? Enlightened by his Word and Holy Spirit, God becomes and remains first in your own life, resides at the center of your marriage, and is the true north for your family. When you communicate with open hearts and minds, you show love and respect to those you hold most dear. As husband and wife walk in step with the Spirit, they will carry out their callings in the best interest of each other and the children.
Your spouse will have different abilities and gifts than you. Think about how you complement each other, then partner together and serve your family with the abilities God has given each of you. As you selflessly yield to your husband’s leadership as God intended, you will be rewarded. Your husband and family will be blessed. “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:28-30).
Serve God with the gifts he has given you. Think about what you’re passionate about, what God has given you, and what your spiritual gifts are. Think about how you could use your time, talents, and treasures.
How do you embrace your unique calling in the church? Serve God with the gifts he has given you. Think about what you’re passionate about, what God has given you, and what your spiritual gifts are. Think about how you could use your time, talents, and treasures. Then ask your pastor how you can use those gifts to serve. Has God given you the gift of hospitality? Find ways to reach out to new members. Are you blessed with time and communication skills? Ask your pastor or other women for the names of those who could use a companion or home visit. Has God given you the gift of leadership, a love for youth, or a desire to encourage young moms and families? Talk with your pastor about organizing youth events or leading a Bible study for new moms.
A selfless servant helps others fulfill their God-given callings. In this way, you can be a great help to your pastor and a blessing to your church family. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, 27).
How do you embrace your unique calling in the world? It may very well be most challenging to carry out your calling in an unbelieving world that has no understanding of the principle of head and helper. Yet God calls us to be lights to a dark world. In the workforce, you may be in a leadership role over a man, either now or at some time in the future. You can still honor the principle by working with him in humility and helping him fulfill his role, not lording it over him.
Maybe you will find that you can work within that realm and still honor the principle. Maybe there will come a time when it doesn’t feel right. You may have to consider how to work through that. Might one person decide one way and another person another way? Likely. God has not prescribed exactly what to do in every situation. Yet as you honor those God has placed in your path, you honor his unique design for men and women. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
As we have said before, how we carry out our calling will look different among different people and situations. There will be times we will miss the mark. In fact, there are many times we will walk in the complete opposite direction of God’s will. But thanks be to God—he forgives us for these missteps and grants us grace to walk anew in his ways.
Honor those God has placed as your authority, those who are your heads. They have received those roles from God himself to be a blessing to you. As you model respect for the principle, you open the door to give a reason for the hope you have. As you fill yourself with God’s Word, the Holy Spirit prepares you to declare God’s praises. We are all working towards the same goal: to point others to Jesus that they may join us in heaven.
For Further Reflection
- Think of and then write out at least one other portion of Scripture that reminds you of the identity you have in Christ.
- What are some of your strengths? How can you use them to serve others? What are some of your weaknesses? How can you work together with others to complement each other?
- Name some specific ways that you will honor God as you live out your unique calling as his dearly loved daughter in the home, the church, and the world.
O Lord, you have been with us throughout this study of your Word on the unique callings of men and women. Open our hearts to hear your truth. Send your Holy Spirit to fill us with your love that we may be a reflection of the great love you have for us. Cause men and women to live their holy callings in service to you. Equip us to speak your praises that the lives we touch may proclaim you as God and Lord. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.