By Dan Miller
Thank you Fr. Wade Fahnestock for bring this to my attention. From 48 Days blog.
Okay, here’s a sticky theological question from a reader:
Dan, I love to share my faith with others and I seem to have many natural talents, skills and abilities suited for being a minister. However, I believe that no matter how suited someone may be for ministry they must be called of God in order to be a Minister. Talent is nothing to God. He rather wants a fully surrendered and obedient individual. I suppose my question is how do I know whether I’m called to be a minister or just an entrepreneur with an idea I’m passionate about? – John
How does God “call” us except through giving us skills and abilities, personality traits and passions that draw us in a particular direction? To think that God will ask a
“fully surrendered and obedient individual”
to something where there is no alignment with natural talents opens the door to heartache and misery.
Let’s just play out John’s thinking here. How would you like to attend a church where the pastor has no talent, skill or passion for that position – but he was just “willing and obedient?” How long would you attend that church?
Apply this thinking to any work. Would you want a doctor who had no skill but thought he was “called” to the medical profession? How about a teacher who had a passion for being an artist but was convinced through well-meaning family that she was “called” to be a teacher?
I’ve met with too many pastors, missionaries, and teachers who were obedient and willing, but whose natural skills did not line up with what their attempts to do something “Godly.” Many confused “calling” with the family tradition or the expectations of others. And their work was frustrating, spiritually depleting and ultimately led to a crisis that required change.
When there is an alignment of our skills, abilities, talents, personality traits and passions we will recognize God’s “call.” We will experience work that is fulfilling, meaningful, purposeful – and profitable. Or, forget your talent, just do “what God wants you to do” and be miserably noble.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
– Frederick Buechner
Anna Perry says
Hmm, interesting. Although, I do think there may be plenty of examples where we are called to do things that we believe we have no talent for – but God knows better. For example, I thought I would be a horrible wife and mother and was much better suited for a career life. Here I am, a wife, homemaker, and stay-at home mother. Remember Moses being called to lead the Israelites and at first refusing because he did not have a gift to speak? I think there are many cases biblically and based in real experience that shows that God loves to stretch people beyond their current levels, skill sets, or talents. This produces within us patience, longsuffering, and perserverance, among other things. So while I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that a melding of talent, with passion, with a calling will truly fulfill…I also believe sometimes God doesn’t show us how well we are suited to something until we’ve already been obedient to the call. In Christ, Anna
Fr. John A. Peck says
Well said, Anna! And I love your email address!
Thank you Father! :)