The God made known in Scripture and incarnate in Jesus Christ desires flourishing people in a flourishing world. This is God’s intent and commitment and God created humans to flourish by collaborating with him in that endeavor.
Sadly, the narrative of the Bible includes how God’s divine desire is subverted by the very human beings God created as partners to reflect God’s image and steward creation. Even more, however, it tells the long story of how God relentlessly pursues us in faithfulness and love. God shares with us out of the flourishing communion of Father, Son and Spirit, the overflow that is our hope and salvation.
You and I are to be the tangible evidence of God’s intent for and pursuit of the world today. You and I. Together. The church. This is our calling as followers of Jesus. We are to fulfill the calling of all humanity and thus point to the true purpose of human life. The Word made flesh in Jesus Christ should show through us. We are meant to be primary evidence of the flourishing love, grace and truth in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus says his disciples are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Though the kingdom is God’s work by the Spirit, we are not spiritual mannequins—a form without life. We are meant to be active, willful, fruit-bearing agents of that kingdom. The Spirit enables us to live both as ourselves (in honesty and humility) and beyond ourselves (in love and sacrifice).
All of this is far from plain in our world. This is why revelation is needed and why our living enactment of that revelation is part of God’s purpose.
The heart of God’s call is this: that we receive and live the love of God for us and for the world. This is the meaning of the two great commandments, that we are made to love the Lord our God with all we are and our neighbors as ourselves. The Bible as a whole, and Jesus in particular, reveals what such a life looks like. Our call is loving communion with God and God’s world. It encompasses our identity, our community and our activity.
The heart of God’s call is this: that we receive and live the love of God for us and for the world.
Only once does God’s call come from a burning bush. Only once does God speak, even to Isaiah, “on a throne, high and lofty” (Isaiah 6:1). God’s primary call is for us to belong to and live for the flourishing of God’s purposes in the world.
God may also call in ways that include direction in relation to such things as jobs, gifts, relationships and more. So, God’s call encompasses the foundational purposes of our lives and sometimes provides guidance for our concrete work and activity.
The first and second commandments taught by Jesus—to love God and love our neighbor—are our calling. They guide the enactment of life as God intends it to be lived. We find our lives by losing them in these particular ways. We lose our lives, and gain them too, in the action of laying them down in worship and love.
This is the glorious promise of our calling—for us and for the world: to live life abundantly. In Jesus’ terms, that means being a people who live in deep, loving communion with the God of the universe, where life has been given away in love so a broken world can flourish.
Taken and adapted from Called by Mark Labberton. Copyright (c) 2014 by Mark Labberton. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.