“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
— 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Along with many Americans, I spent this past Sunday evening with some friends watching the Patriots overcome a massive scoreboard deficit to win their fifth Super Bowl win. Regardless of how you felt about that outcome, it’s always interesting to watch the reactions of the players, coaches and support staff in the wake of a championship victory. Years of hard work and dedication have finally produced the desired result, so of course celebration is in order!
One of the images that stuck out to me was of the Patriots backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, surrounded by his friends and family, every single one of them wearing his jersey and celebrating his team’s victory. Of course, there were detractors pointing out that he didn’t play a single snap during the game, and yet here he was celebrating as if he had orchestrated the winning drive or thrown the final touchdown pass. Why should he be celebrating when he didn’t even play?
The reality is that although Jimmy was not the MVP of the game, and statistically contributed nothing to that particular victory, he was still a valuable part of the organization. He played a significant part in the planning and preparation. He worked out and drilled with his teammates. He studied film with teammates and coaches, breaking down the opponents’ schemes and figuring out ways to exploit weaknesses. He was available to step in at a moment’s notice if the starter should be unable to play. Because he and his teammates answered the call to give their very best, they were victorious and he earned a share of the glory. Jimmy Garoppolo is as much a champion today as Tom Brady & Julian Edelman.
And this is what the apostle Paul is describing in the passage above. Christian theologians talk about “calling” in two forms. The first is a “general calling.” It is the open invitation to everyone to enter into a restored relationship with God. This is the call to Salvation. The other form of calling is the “specific calling” that is unique to YOU as an individual. It is the plan of God for your life, the purpose for which you were created. That is an awesome, yet sobering thought. God has called all of us out of the darkness of sin and into the light of His life and love, but beyond that He has called you to a specific role on His team.
Each of us has something that God wants to leverage to accomplish His will, His plan, in the world. Maybe it is a natural talent or ability that God has gifted you that He desires for you to develop and put to work on His behalf. It could be that God has placed you in a situation of power or influence and wants you to use for Kingdom work. It can, and will, look different for each person. What makes it even harder to understand is that you cannot always realize the impact that you are having. Like a mosaic or a pointillist painting, a close examination of particulars does not always reveal the over-arching design. It is only when you step back and look at things from a different perspective, God’s eternal perspective, that the brilliance and beauty of the plan becomes evident.
God can do whatever He wants. He can call things into existence with a single word. He knitted together the very fabric of our universe and controls power and resources beyond our comprehension. And still, in His infinite wisdom, He has graciously extended the invitation to each of us to participate in His will. The question is, how will you answer that call? Will you live your life in such a way that you are worthy of the call?
Prayer: Father, in closing I want to repeat the prayer of Paul over every individual that reads this blog. I ask that you enable them to live a life worthy of Your call. Give them the power to accomplish the good works that their faith prompts them to do. I pray that their lives be honorable and will give honor to You. Finally, I give thanks for the gracious invitation that You have extended to us. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.