Ethan Langston: Calling vs. Purpose

Posted by in Faith | August 19, 2014


Editor’s Note: Today Ethan gives us an interesting question to ponder: have we considered our purpose beyond our immediate calling? Many of us fall into the easy line of thinking that suggests that our comfortable position of acting in accordance with our gifting is the end goal of our Christian responsibility. Ethan questions that and challenges us to look a little closer. We could all stand to take his advice!

“In high school, my IRON and FIRE small group was not only a great group of friends, but also a place where I felt comfortable discussing what I felt God was doing in my life. In college, I have been able to follow that model in other small groups I have joined; and I’ve found it’s incredibly important to be surrounded by a group of people that care about what God is doing in my life and are open to discussion about anything that may be on my mind. Also, I’ve found that God teaches me a great deal through investing in the lives of the people around me.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. What is my purpose? What is my role in the body of Christ? What does God want me to do in regards to furthering His Kingdom? Having a small group of guys to talk to about thoughts like these has been uplifting; and seeing how God is working in each of their lives is encouraging. Jeff [Knapp] has certainly found his purpose, what he has been called to, and it is encouraging to have someone that close that has found his calling and has pursued it.

I think it’s often easy to assume we have figured out our calling, thus making it easy to be caught up in the motions of our personal lives and possibly miss God’s bigger picture. For example, I feel like God has led me to lead worship in the church, at least for the time being. But, is he calling me to something more? What if I’m not only supposed to step in and do my part, but God also wants to use me to make some kind of change to the “worship scene?” I’ll never know if I play it safe and do what everyone else has always done before. I don’t think God wants us to live safe lives; but rather, He wants us to listen to Him and be open to His plans for us, even if they seem crazy at the time. The world tells us otherwise, though. Even your “average Christian,” like me, lives a safe life. We want to be comfortable; it’s human nature. I know I’m going to come home every night, eat, and go to bed—but what about Paul in Colossians? He was all over the world, often in danger, doing what God had called him to do. Now, I don’t think that we are all called to outright preaching like Paul was; but that was his calling, and he was always open to what God had to say.

I have been looking for answers to these questions in the Bible, and James 1:22-25 explains it perfectly:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

If we truly seek God, we will find our identity in Christ; but it doesn’t end there. God wants us to be a part of His plan on a daily basis. I hope I have not given the impression that I think I have this figured out because I am nowhere near finding all the answers; but I pray that God continually reveals His Will to me. Although we often don’t see the bigger picture of how God uses us in His plan, I find it to be incredibly rewarding when he does choose to reveal how He has used us to further His kingdom after we have been faithful servants to Him.”

Ethan Langston

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