I didn’t always work in full-time ministry. I used to have a career in education. I taught high school science and math, and I loved it.
So, why did I leave a treasured teaching position to be a full-time apologist? Many Christians think I must have been “called” by God. Well, if you were to think that, you’d be wrong. I didn’t hear a voice or feel a nudge. It didn’t happen that way for me. And I don’t think it happens that way for most people.
Instead, there are four broad concepts that have helped steer the direction of my work and ministry. If you’re trying to find your role in serving the kingdom of God, remember these four things.
First, you have a gift.
Every Christian plays a role in the kingdom of God. Whether you’re a pastor or a plumber, a deacon or a dentist, an evangelist or an electrician, you have a part to play. Some refer to this as “your calling,” though that’s not how the New Testament authors use the term. The concept of “calling” gives the impression that God needs to tell you what to do before you do it. As a result, many people are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to hear God’s voice. This is a mistake.
God doesn’t distribute ministry by calling—at least not usually. He distributes ministry by gifting. Paul says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Rom. 12:6). Peter writes, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10). So we make a difference for the kingdom by using our gifts. What’s your gifting?
Second, bloom where you’re planted.
Look for opportunities—big or small—to use whatever abilities you have to make a difference for the kingdom. We call this blooming where you’re planted. Here’s how it works. You do whatever you can, wherever you are, with whatever God’s given you. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like much. But that’s okay. God will use it. Take whatever circumstances you’re in, and do something.
Third, put faithfulness first.
Many of us are results oriented. We gauge our success by the impact of our efforts. But this confuses God’s work with our work. Our job is to focus on being faithful, and we leave the results to God. Remember, the same God who provides the gift also gives the results.
Remember the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 (John 6). The boy didn’t have much, but he gave what he had to Jesus. And Jesus gave the increase. If you are faithful in small things first, then you’re given larger things to be faithful in. That’s how God works. So faithfully give what you have to God, and let him take care of the rest.
Fourth, know your audience.
Although there are different gifts being used in different ways, we all serve for the same end: “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 4:11). In whatever you do, work as for the Lord (Col. 3:23) so that when you stand before your audience of one, you may hear those joyous words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”