What Does It Mean To Be Called?

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Interfaith Ministry Ordination Class of 2009 - Including Those “Called” from All Over the World!

In an article  by journalist, William F. Baker, as Baker reflects on his years in broadcasting and the challenge of balancing that career with his faith tradition, he says, "It has shown me how to see my work sacramentally, as the outward sign of an inward, if not grace, then purpose.  Abundant purpose sustains a person or a company when money may not be as abundant.  My successes . . . came because I persistently kept the inner justifications for my work in view, whether times were good or bad."

To Be “Called” — What Does That Mean?

As I read his words, I remembered the many years of secular work as a librarian, feeling "called" to be doing work for God, and not understanding what that work was.  It was a time in my library career when I often felt more like a security officer than a librarian as we were faced with many potentially dangerous public interactions.  Then one day that still small voice within spoke to me, and I finally had the ears to hear, and I finally understood that all of our work can be work for God.  I finally understood that if I would permit it, then my hands could be Christ's hands, my words, Christ's words, my thoughts, Christ's thoughts.  I did not think, "Oh, this is my opportunity to 'preach the gospel' in the secular setting."  No, that was not what this was all about.   What it was about, was having the heart of Christ.  And, when I realized that, I knew that my first step was forgiveness. 

At that time I was a supervisor in "battle" with my supervisor for better and safer working conditions for my staff.  I was at a point where I was ready to just give-up on it all.  And, then the "light came on" and I was able to see that all that I did could be an "outward sign of the inward" if I remained true to the grace and unconditional love shown to us by Christ.  I had to take a hard look at myself, and see where I was not meeting that mark.  And, when I did that, I realized that as the Psalmist says, God is with us in all of our times;  I also realized that I had allowed anger to take hold of my heart, and that those fires had to be replaced with the spirit of thanksgiving - forgiveness. 

I suddenly knew that I had to lift a prayer of thanksgiving for the worst that was happening in my life -- I knew that if I looked hard enough there was always something to be found.  I knew that every time I was filled with anger, I had to find something to be thankful for in that situation and say a prayer of thanksgiving for it.  Was it hard?  Yes, it was;  sometimes it seemed impossible.  

Some days it was a  "Thank you, Lord, for the smile of the child in this day of total darkness - a smile that reminded me why I am here."  As those prayers of thanksgiving in the midst of adversity were said, my life began to change.  It was an inward change as anger changed to purpose.  

And,  what was that purpose?  Grace. 

This journey has been a slippery slope.  There are still good times and bad times in that walk.  

But, if I can remain true to the heart - the heart of Christ - then I know that all my times are held in the palm of God's hand;  I know that I can find rest there;  I know that no matter what life has to present to me, my purpose is to allow my work to be an outward showing of an inward grace. 

All of these many years later, 

I still have to remind myself with intention that those prayers of thanksgiving need to be part of my daily walk.  

It is through thanksgiving 

that we find 

Light, purpose, forgiveness, unconditional love -- Grace overflowing.  

© Rev.Mary Ann Tourjee 2019