It’s always a strange thing when I hear people talk about calling; it is an intensely personal thing. Sometimes they are so sure, so confident, so convinced that they know what God wants for them. Of course, most people are confused and unclear about what God has for them.
In paying attention to the first group, it’s interesting to see what happens when their calling changes. That is, when their confidence is rocked to the core and they have little more than confusion and platitudes to keep them going. This has led me to have a pretty loose view of “calling.” Well, that observation and James. In talking about tomorrow, let us say, if it is the Lords will…
I’ve had many years where my calling was unshakeable, that is, the confidence never wavered. I knew God was calling me to serve Doug, so that’s what I did every day. One day that call ended. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, I couldn’t explain why I made the decision, this made it more difficult. Every day for the two weeks after I made the decision, God revealed where he had been working in my life, step by step to move me to that decision.
I knew my new call was to do something different, and to choose it. I waited for God to keep just one door open… there where several, so I choose. I had an amazing year… although it was not without some relational loss. This season ended, and within two weeks I had a ministry position at saddleback… a job within two weeks.
Within the last four months I’ve had an opportunity to really test my current calling. New situations mean new frustrations. The Saddleback I returned to was an alien place. The adult world was a strange one, to say the least! A friend of mine asked me to come work for him. It was a great opportunity: we both could see a place for me in that ministry.
I had some questions, and some concerns about the new opportunity and about Saddleback. I knew this was a test… a personal test for me. I needed to decide before I knew all the facts. I relied on scripture and prayed for one to speak to me.
It happened. I have felt like I have been in a desert for some time, but that it was a good desert. A necessary season. Like Moses after he killed the Egyptian. I resonated with Moses being trained to for life in Egypt, and then living in a place that was far different. A place that required old and comfortable skills to be put on the back burner and new skills to be developed. The things I do best–things I did as the high school pastor–are things I don’t get to do now. What really spoke to me was that Moses built his family in the desert. I’m definitely doing this right now. We just had a baby 9 months ago, we’re on target to adopt in July, and the Mish is pregnant and due in November.
In this, I am confident that Saddleback is the right place for me right now. I have a great and exciting ministry, but I’m still in a desert, I feel like I’m being prepared for something different (I hesitate to say “greater” since that’s easy to say and nice leadership rhetoric).
Interestingly, since I’ve made my decision, some of my questions have been answered about both saddleback and the other opportunity… at both places these answers have been positive.
I wouldn’t argue any of this with anyone. I’m not talking about a particular interpretation of Scripture. I’m talking about the confirmation and confidence of a calling in my life. A calling that’s so personal it really can’t be defended or attacked. Maybe you’d say, Matt, you’re an idiot. you are like Jonah in the belly of the fish, repent. or Matt, you are fat like that philistine king the left handed Ehud had to kill. Maybe. I’m not going to argue why one scripture helped me over another. Only let us live up to what we have attained.
I don’t know where the next season will take me, or even when it will come. But for now, I serve saddleback’s regional campuses.