My call to the ministry was not a miraculous or supernatural something. On the contrary it was an inner urge calling me to serve humanity. —Martin Luther King Jr.
If all who are indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus have the opportunity to serve God fully, how do we know what God is inviting us to do?
Great question. And I decided it was best answered by looking at Scripture as a whole. Starting in the Old Testament, we find God inviting people into His redemptive plan directly—often with specific instructions. These callings were magnificent and included visions and dreams, and even earthly appearances.
- Think about Abram. He left Ur after a conversation with God. During Abram’s life, he experienced visions, dreams, and even a theophany—a visual appearance of God on earth! (Genesis 12)
- Of course, Moses was the man who witnessed the original burning bush. God spoke to him from that bush with exact directions, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10).
- Jacob’s magnificent calling included a ladder from heaven (Genesis 28). Isaiah was taken up into the heavens in a vision—seeing the glory of God complete with angels and singing (Isaiah 6).
- Let’s not forget Ezekiel. The visions Ezekiel saw were unprecedented.
- Perhaps you’re thinking, Sure, if I saw a bush burning but not being consumed, and then I heard God’s audible voice giving me instructions—I’d know exactly what I’m supposed to do.
But friends, God doesn’t necessarily work this way anymore; He doesn’t sweep us up into visions or offer audible directives in His own voice. Periodically He does—usually in unreached areas where Christ hasn’t been preached yet—but in our modern world, His mode of operation has changed.
And so when we turn to the Gospels and God comes to earth in human form through the incarnation of Christ, we see God calling and inviting people into His plan in a whole new way.
In the Gospels, God invited people through Jesus.
Jesus, today I reflect upon Your invitation for us to join You—it’s totally humbling. I am awed by Your glory as I read Old Testament invitations; I am drawn in by Your intimacy—that You’d come to earth and invite us. Open my ears so that I might hear how You are calling me, too. Amen
Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?