“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:9-18
I learned at a ripe young age the meaning of “on call” thanks to my Dad being an enormously dedicated and highly respected doctor who treated patients with primarily a chronic and potentially ultimately fatal disease. When my Dad was “on call,” it didn’t matter what the family was doing, or where we were, or what hour of the night it was, or anything else for that matter, and nothing and nobody took precedence over my Dad receiving calls about patients in dire need of help. He had to take the calls, he did take the calls, and he responded to the calls whether by phone with other health care workers charged with helping his patients or by getting in the car and driving the 25 minutes or so to the hospital for the sake of his patients.
Decades later, I know what it’s like to be on call. But I have a different calling. My calling is for Christ, as is the calling of anyone who has repented of his or her sins and turned his or life over to Jesus Christ as Lord for the promise of forgiveness and an everlasting relationship with God. Just like with my Dad all those years ago being available first and foremost to fulfill his calling, Christ’s followers are commissioned to place Christ as our very highest priority day and night, and to faithfully and lovingly serve God and others day and night as the Spirit of God so leads us. Nothing, and nobody, not even ourselves, should ever take precedence over the Lord and His will for us, even when that means God assigns us something to do, someone to help, anything at all, which we think to be an inconvenience, an interruption, an interference, a bother, too much, not comfortable, too risky, a distraction, etc.
I have been out on the road for the past year, and am currently in New York City, for one reason alone. God almighty called me to go out on the road for Him and my ministry work and all those He wants to reach through this little ministry with which He has entrusted me. My number one calling is to love and worship and serve and obey God forever, and that is the calling for every human on this earth. My personal calling, as God gives each of us a personal calling that falls into the context of our calling to love and worship Him forever, is my ministry work. Your personal calling may be entirely different than mine, but we all share the calling to love and serve Jesus above all else. And, day by day, we have the calling He gives us to follow His Spirit wherever He leads us.
What if the phone rings in the middle of the night with an urgent plea from a grieving widow? Or a homeless person on the street corner is in need of food and the Lord leads us to buy that person a meal? Or God calls us to quit our jobs and use our retirement money to do missionary work for the next five years? Or right in the middle of a football game on television someone knocks on the door because he is feeling suicidal and wants to hear more about Jesus Christ? Or just when we’re finally about to go on our dream vacation the Lord calls us to forsake the vacation and donate the money to a church dedicated to helping immigrants who have just arrived in this country and have nothing?
Friend, though our world and culture and society seem to be ever more about self and lusts and pleasure, about money and our dreams and agendas, about me, me, and me again, God created us not to live for self, but to live for Jesus and for others. Our calling given to us by God is not about self; it’s about Jesus.
If you examine closely your heart, and your life, your everyday life, how you spend your time, what your priorities are, what means the most to you, what is most precious to you, how you make decisions, what fills your calendar, how you feel when your plans are interrupted because of someone in need, how you respond to the Lord when He calls you to do something, or to share the Gospel with someone, or to help someone who is hurting, when your flesh is screaming inside you have better things to do, you already have plans, what do you see?
Is loving and serving the Lord and others your highest calling? Are you on call for Christ? Are you willing to drop absolutely everything to respond to the call of Christ? Is He your number one priority? Are you on call for the Lord?
I sincerely hope the answer is yes. For intellectual faith is not sufficient. Everlasting life, life here on earth in fellowship with God and forever in heaven, it’s not for those who merely call Jesus Lord. It’s for those who believe Jesus is Lord and live their lives accordingly. With Jesus Christ as their greatest priority, and their highest calling.
On call for Christ. Are you?