The High Calling of God
Professional sports are all about performance, contracts, and winning. For those of us in Oklahoma, we are witnessing the dismantling of the Thunder basketball team as player after player is being traded for “future” first round picks. In some cases, it is that the athlete wants to be on a different team. Sometimes, the owner is willing to trade for a player that is better in a different position. And, sometimes it is that the money required to pay some players is just so expensive that trading can reduce costs.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t feel sorry for players who are traded when their salaries are in the millions. They are not going to take a pay cut. Rather, I am amazed at how skewed our priorities are when teachers and coaches in our public schools struggle for finances to get the resources needed for their classrooms. Or when churches are accused of only wanting people’s money to provide for ministry when some of those same people have no qualms about being such good “fans” of their team that season tickets and taking a full weekend to be at a game with all of the costs required for parking, lodging, eating, and entertainment is not seen as oppressive.
So often, when a young adult graduates from a university in their field, the first question asked is, “Did they make you a good offer financially?” That is not asked of the person entering a field that cares for orphans, social services, teaching, ministry, or similar professions. When a young man states that he feels called to ministry as a vocation, sometimes parents will do all that they can to dissuade him from that calling due to the awareness that normally it does not pay well financially. There is limited concern that the call is from God and that He will provide for those who are His.
Faith is evidenced in what we do in leading our children to revere the name of the LORD, to seek Him early in life, and to follow Him wherever He leads. What we may have imagined for our child may not be what God had planned for him or her when He knit them together in their mother’s womb. God calls us in salvation. Then, He calls some to full time vocational service. To follow Christ is to die to self and be submissive to God’s will for us.
To die to sin, to the old self, is not to lose your purpose for life. It is to find it.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones has four volumes on John 17! This man, Lloyd-Jones, is one of the most fascinating figures in twentieth century church history. This man from humble beginnings in South Wales was trained as a physician at St. Bartholomew’s in London, a noted medical school and training ground for world-class doctors. He became a surgeon and was, in fact, an official surgeon to the British monarchy. His wife was also a physician. But God called Him to the ministry. He left St. Bartholomew’s and the staff of the Queen to preach the gospel to coal miners in South Wales.
The London Times ran a feature story on this. The whole angle was: How could a prominent young London physician possibly leave all the money and trappings and respect and honor of his position to give his years to poor coal miners in Wales? His answer? “I gave up nothing. I gain all. It is an honor to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.”