From Our Bulletin – August 7, 2011
Some time ago I received an email requesting my help in spreading the news about a new business which is soon to open. These entrepreneurs stated that for a few years they had “felt God calling” them to this new endeavor. They further stated that they were now being obedient to that call. This sort of thing is nothing knew to me, I hear it frequently. But as a student of God’s word, it always sounds rather strange.
Oh yes, in the Bible people are sometimes called of God for some special work. For example, Noah was instructed of God to build an ark; Abraham was called of God to another country; Moses was called at the burning bush; Jonah was sent of God to preach in Nineveh; and there were others. But these did not just feel that they were called of God to these particular endeavors – God actually spoke to them. We are even told what God said. Their experiences are quite different from those who today speak of feeling God’s call.
The same holds true in the New Testament. Some were called for specific tasks, for example: Philip to preach to the Ethiopian eunuch; Ananias to go to Saul of Tarsus; Peter to carry the gospel to the house of Cornelius; Paul to bear the message of Christ to the Gentile world, etc. But again, none of these just felt the call to a particular endeavor rather they were each given verbal instructions.
All Christians are called of God. But even that call does not originate by a feeling inside oneself rather we are called by the gospel. Paul in his letter to the Christians at Thessalonica wrote, “Wherefore he [God] called you by our gospel.” (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
We need to be careful to always speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). Otherwise, we may be attributing something to God that is really only the thoughts of our own heart.