A lot of people have been asking really good questions about why I have chosen to work outside of formal pastoral ministry for a season. It is a very personal decision, which I find difficult to explain in ways that others understand (or accept). The best language I have found, at this point, to help people understand is the language of the two C’s. What follows is the last newsletter article I wrote for Church in the Acres.
Three days from now I will be starting the first journey down to North Carolina. I am filled with feelings of excitement, anxiety, sadness, loss but most of all there is a sense of peace that we are following God’s invitation for our family at this time. Recently I was reading that we should not be surprised if people do not understand our decisions and actions as we seek to live in obedience to the Spirit’s leading in our lives. Too often the only way we can begin to understand or process what God is doing in another’s life is to try to make sense of their behavior based upon our own experience. The truth is that while there may be themes which are similar, or seasons that most people seem to progress through it is impossible for any of us to fully understand what God is doing in someone else’s life. As I have sought words to help explain my journey and the decision Nancy and I have made to leave Church in the Acres I found myself talking about the two “callings”. Calling, with a capital C and calling, with a small c.
The capital C calling is the call that each one of us has to live in relationship with God through faith in Christ. It is the Call to discipleship, to live in obedience and service to God. Jesus demonstrated for us what it means to follow the C call when he prayed, “Not my will but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42) The capital C call is common to all people, the invitation is the same “”If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Our small c calling is the way in which we live out the capital C calling. Put another way, (maybe a little crass) it is where we pick up a paycheck. Too often we allow the pursuit of the small c calling to get in the way of being obedient to God’s capital C calling in our lives. We confuse “success” in our small c calling as being obedient to God’s ultimate invitation for our lives. We sacrifice obedience to the capital C call so that we can get ahead or feel we are making “responsible decisions” in regards to life. Responsible is good; God calls us to be good stewards of all we have but I fear we too often settle for responsible when God is looking for daring, dangerous, adventuresome steps on our part. Put another way we choose safe when God is asking, “Do you trust me enough to risk yourself for me?”
One piece of our decision has been God’s invitation to put the small c calling on the back burner to give total attention to obedient pursuit of the capital C calling.
I hope that this helps you understand a piece of the journey God has me on. I know that for many it may raise more questions than answers. I encourage you to sit with those questions, invite God into them. The worst thing to do would be to quickly come up with “comfortable” answers and move back to life as “usual”.
We may not fully understand what God is doing in another’s life but we can pray that we would each trust God enough to risk ourselves for the Kingdom. Please pray that I would grow to trust God enough to risk myself for Him, I will pray the same for you.