The idea of finding one’s calling is often a source of anxiety. It’s also too often a source of comparison between Christians. Each life spent in Christ looks unique, and no two lives will walk the same path. They shouldn’t walk the same path. Some are called to be missionaries in far off places, while others are called to evangelism in their own backyard. The truth is we’re all called to one purpose, and that purpose is to spread the gospel. We’re all called to ministry, it’s the shared calling of all those who claim to follow Christ. It’s the ways that we live out this purpose that vary in shape and size, but the purpose—the truth—remains.
I went to a school where missions were heavily emphasized. At first, as an English major, I was intimidated. It seemed like those who were dedicated to their faith chose Intercultural Studies as a major. They were committed to a life spent spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth, literally, and I was dedicated to reading books and writing papers. On the scale ranking Christianity they were 10’s and I was a solid 4 or 5. But the scale ranking Christianity isn’t real, even if we feel like it is. Either we’re following Christ or we’re not. It doesn’t look the same for everyone, though, and it’s important to carve out our own path.
The devil uses our insecurities to delay the spread of the gospel. It’s these lies—the lies of “I’m not good enough” or “someone else is taking care of it”—that prevent us from living up to our potential. If every person were called to ministry in far off places there would be no one in their home churches to equip them, to fund them, to encourage them. There would be no one in a cubicle next to Carl to offer him encouragement and a prayer during a tough week. There would be no one performing carpool duties or signing up for meal trains when Sarah has her baby a month early.
Needs are everywhere—in grocery stores and PTA meetings, in classrooms and even in churches. Ministry is more than signing up to volunteer in the nursery on Sunday mornings, although I’m sure your church could always use more volunteers. Ministry, if you let it, can be more. It can be a state of mind. It’s the ability to see the needs in your world and work to meet them. Some days it will be small and other days it will take more out of you than you knew you could give. Either day you’ll find yourself rewarded and changed.
It took me a long time to open myself up to this perspective on sharing the good news, but it was such a relief when I did. There was no need for me to compete with my fellow students, because we all shared a common goal. I’m not the girl sent to far off places, and that’s okay. Maybe one day I will be, and that’s okay too. The world is broken. Not just cracked in some places but in all places. It’s shattered, and until we start looking at the broken pieces in our own backyard we’ll get nowhere. It’s an overwhelming project, an impossible one without the grace of God. But don’t just think big picture, because sometimes big picture prevents you from starting. Just start. Pick up the pieces and grab the glue, because the world needs writers and business people and teachers. The world needs missionaries too. The world needs all of us.