Why living life “On Call” is better than being “Called” into ministry.

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August 13, 2014

Acts 13:1-3 (in context)

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

CONSIDER THIS

I am sitting in perhaps the busiest Starbucks in the city as I write today. I sensed a nudge from the Holy Spirit to write from this context. I thought to myself, “Makes sense. The place will be filled with the kinds of people I want to write the Daily Text for. I just read the text for today and it caused me to reinterpret things. Now, all of a sudden, I am understanding myself as “sent” one. My mission is here this morning.

present-attentive-openAnd what is the mission? Here’s how I understand it: Be present. Be attentive. Be open. I’m not going to contrive an opportunity to “share the gospel” with the guy sitting across from me lost in his laptop– unless the Holy Spirit says to. I’m not going to try to start a “spiritual” conversation with the Barrista behind the counter– unless the Holy Spirit says to. I am going to be present, be attentive and be open. I am going to write. In short, I am going to be here as one who is sent to be here. I am going to understand myself and my vocation today as a “sent one.” And while I’m at it, I am going to write these words as though writing them to all of these people passing through this coffee shop.

Isn’t that what it means to be a follower of Jesus? Didn’t he say something like, “As the Father sent me so I send you.” He took it a radical step further though. He said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

We tend to think in the binary categories of “Called to Ministry” or “Just a Layperson.” Nothing quenches the Holy Spirit like this kind of self-disqualification from the game. How about we banish the language of “Called to Ministry” as though it were a category for a certain group of people. What if instead we thought more along the lines of being a “Sent One” who lives their daily life “On Call”?

What if all the followers of Jesus present today in this coffee shop had this same self understanding? I am a “Sent One” set apart yet right in the middle of everything, and living life today “On Call” present, attentive and open to the Holy Spirit and ready to respond.

How about it?

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

COME HOLY SPIRIT!

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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