Living Consistent with our Calling

‘I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ Ephesians 4:1-3

What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have received? The Apostle Paul wrote this letter while he was locked away in a Roman prison cell. Paul wasn’t in prison because he baked cookies for people and helped them with their taxes. He was there because of his preaching of the gospel. Paul was called to be an apostle (Romans 1:1) and to bring the message of Christ to the Gentile world (Galatians 2:7). He remained true to his calling and his imprisonment was evidence of his faithfulness to preach the gospel wherever he went. You and I have also been called into the Lord’s service. Each of us has a unique calling to bring the gospel to people where God has called us.

A few years ago, several families rented a house for a few days in Eastern Washington. This home had several amenities including a pool table. Playing many games of pool that weekend reignited my love for the game. I grew up with a pool table and since my father’s table was sitting largely unused in my sister’s home, she allowed me to move it into our home. My cousin runs a pool league and it wasn’t long before I joined and recruited a few others from our church to form a team. My hope was twofold, to have fun playing in a semi-competitive league and, more importantly, to help me connect to people who aren’t yet Christ followers.

Our team of eight people includes four guys who are part of our church family, three guys who are not yet followers of Christ, and the wife of a pastor from another church. I love our team! I’ve invited them to participate in our church’s Alpha group, but no one expressed interest. Recently, I invited them to meet online to explore issues of faith using some of the apologetics resources from RightNow media. The only ones who responded were the three others from Cornerstone! The three other men and I decided that we would still meet to equip ourselves so that we can become more effective in articulating and discussing issues of faith.

While our heart is to share the love of Christ with those who don’t know Jesus, God wants us to do so with a heart that is filled with the love of Christ. Paul mentions humility, patience, gentleness, and bearing with others that should describe the manner in which we live, especially towards other believers with whom we share the unity of the Spirit. When the church family is loving each other and has the common purpose of reaching others with the love of Christ, there is congruence between the message and the manner in which we are living. To share the message of God's love with little love in our own lives is like a discordant note that hurts the ears of a listening world. But there is no sweeter music than a church that is filled with people who are experiencing unity in purpose while walking in love. This is both powerful and empowering! Reaching others is not an individual endeavor but a church-wide venture where we pray for and encourage one another and joyfully enfold those who are being reached into our family of faith.

I’m thankful there are three other men who have joined me to bring God’s love into the pool hall. I’m thrilled that several in our church family and other believers from another church have joined together to run the Alpha course. It’s exciting that some of our Community Groups are intentionally reaching out to non-believers! These are just snippets of what it can look like to walk in a manner worthy of our calling!