1. A Call to Leadership

A voice came from heaven: "You are My beloved Son; take delight in You!"

Mark 1:11

The idea of a "calling," particularly for those not employed in some sort of professional ministry, is often seen as archaic, impractical, or quaint, even by Christians.

This view is damaging, however, both to God's kingdom and to individual lives and careers. As Christians, we must understand that God has a call on our entire lives, including our careers. To see this any differently denies both allegiance to God as our Creator and an understanding of the unbelievable price Jesus paid for us on the cross. It keeps us from living fully integrated lives in which all things work in synergy for our good and for the building of God's kingdom. (For more on this, see The Road Best Traveled: Knowing God's Will for Your Life by Ray Pritchard).

Evidently, Jesus' leadership status needed reaffirmation by God the Father as Jesus began his earthly ministry. The voice from heaven saying, "You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You" (Mark 1:11) was this affirmation.

God has specific plans for each one of us, and we must do our best to determine what they are and submit to them. When we fail to do this, less than God's best often transpires. For example, a very gifted teacher at a Christian college—one called to teach—was railroaded into the college presidency by well-meaning colleagues, resulting in trauma, hard feelings, and disappointment on all sides. Gifts in one area, such as leadership abilities, are not necessarily transferable.

While it is certainly worthwhile to seek advice from others, ultimately a calling is between you and God. In an incident famous among our circle of friends, one friend told another, "I have put out a fleece for you," referring to the familiar incident with Gideon as recorded in Judges 6:36-38, "and here is what you need to do." Wisely, our other friend responded, "Hey, thanks, but I will put out my own fleece."

Never let someone else determine God's will for your life. No one else can understand God's unique call on your life as clearly as you can. Many have wasted years trying in vain to please others when they would be far more productive living as God designed them to live. This doesn't mean we go off half-cocked or without advice, but in the end, as Romans 14 says, each one of us must face God individually.

When we consider taking positions of leadership, we need to put out our fleece and seek God's affirmation. We may not hear an audible voice from heaven, but we can know that we are acting within God's will for our lives.