Our Calling to Serve
As we look in the Bible at various callings of the Lord, we can see our calling as saints, our calling to be holy, our calling out of darkness into light, and the general call to pray.
In addition to those, there is a calling to serve the Lord, and specific callings to serve in specific ways. We can see this lived out in the life and ministry of Paul.
In his letters, Paul often acknowledged his specific call. For example in 1 Corinthians 1:1, he introduced himself with, “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus…” (ESV).
Paul had a specific calling to serve as an apostle of the Lord Jesus, but he had served for many years before he received this apostolic call. Specific callings do not always come when we first receive Jesus.
A number of commentaries all say Paul served fourteen years before he was specifically called out with Barnabas. At the start of Acts 13, Barnabas and Paul are listed in a group of prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul [Paul] for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:2, ESV). It was then that they set off on what we refer to as Paul’s first missionary journey.
What was Paul doing before this Holy Spirit commission happened? He did a variety of things that actually looked similar to what he was ultimately called and set apart to do. We can learn a lot from that. We simply put our hand to a plow, be willing to do anything, and the Lord will find us if He has a specific call for our lives. Patience is valuable, because without it, many have quit too soon.
So, let’s keep our hands to the plow, not being concerned about titles or positions, but focused on serving the Lord, the household of faith, and winning the lost.