Have you ever hated to do something but found that you could not keep from doing it? Normally we associate such a contradiction as it relates to bad habits or sins that beset us. Paul certainly struggled with that in Romans 7. That which he wanted to do, he did not. That which he did not want to do … that he did! We’ve all been there.
Today I read a passage of Scripture which suddenly struck me as being a reversal in that it describes someone who “hated” doing something right/good … but he could not keep himself from doing it anyway!
For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” Jeremiah 20.8-9a
But then in the next breath Jeremiah says, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.” Jeremiah 20.9b
In the secret thoughts of my own heart and mind, there have been times when I have been so discouraged, wounded and downright fed up with certain aspects of ministry that I thought about whether I could be happy pumping gas for a living. But I knew it would never work. Not only do they not hire people to pump gas any more in this self serve, serve yourself age but, more importantly … God would not let me abdicate from His call in my life! In that case, no matter how much I wanted to do the wrong thing … I could not do it.
There are all sorts of ideas out there about the definition of God’s calling in a believer’s life. I believe that at least part of it, and perhaps all of it, is an overwhelmingly strong, God-given compunction to do something specific that is totally consistent with bringing God glory in the doing of it. So overwhelmingly strong that one would echo the words of Jeremiah … “[it]was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
Without the calling of God in your life, anything you do is merely an occupation … a job. Having an occupation or a job may be necessary but make sure that you have discerned His calling in your life as well. What has He called you to do? Your job/occupation may change from time to time … you can take it or leave it … but His calling is something you MUST do. I consider myself blessed to have an occupation which IS my calling. Are there still times when I wish I could just go pump gas? Honestly … yes. But there has never been a moment when I felt anything but a powerful compunction to stay where He has put me … and where He uses me. Besides, in this self serve, serve yourself society I get ample opportunity to pump gas, since Linda refuses to do it.
What’s your calling? Are you faithful to it before Him who has called you?