It`s quite surprising what you notice in the Bible when you read it slowly. Recently I read today’s verse and I thought, “how very strange!”. Paul says Jesus sent him to preach the gospel but did not send him to baptise people. I wonder why. After all, Jesus told His disciples to baptise, and it does need to be done. The New Testament says several times that baptism is essential for a new believer (e.g. Acts 2:38). So why was Paul so insistent that, “Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel”?
I think there is a clue in Paul’s description of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12. ‘If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! (verse 17-19).
We are not all called to do the same things. In fact, if everyone did the same things, an awful lot of other important things would be missed out.
This may seem obvious, but we often fail to apply it to ourselves. Paul was an evangelist and teacher. He was successful because he focused on that primary calling. In doing so, he left room for others to use their gifts too. Others had been called by Christ to baptise. Jesus did want the new believers to be baptised. He just wasn’t asking Paul to do it.
We are part of a body. If we all try to do everything, nothing will be done well, and we will burn out. It’s true that Jesus equips those He calls, but if we try to do things we were not called to do, perhaps we haven’t been spiritually equipped for those jobs and we won’t do them very well. Meanwhile, someone else who has been given that calling may be happy to let you get on with it, or may feel they wouldn’t do it as well as you, or may simply lack the encouragement and opportunity.
Which raises the obvious question, OK, then, so what has God actually called me to do? We may need to ask Him.
In my own life, I have often bemoaned my lack of evangelistic ability and every time the Lord seems to reply, “Yes I could help you with that, but what I really want you to do is pray.” Over the years, that same thought must have popped into my mind dozens of times, in response to whatever perceived inability I was complaining of, “Yes, but what I really want you to do is pray.”
I must be extremely slow to get the point, because it is only recently that the penny has dropped. It is OK for me to focus on my primary calling (prayer) and not to be concerned if that means I seem to be neglecting other (good and right) Christian activities.
What about you? Are you feeling stressed, exhausted and too busy, with a finger in too many pies? Doing things because “they need to be done and nobody else will do them if I don’t”? I wonder whether you could be trying to do more than the Lord has called you to do. Or perhaps you are feeling useless, unsuccessful and undervalued. Perhaps you compare yourself with others and feel discouraged. But what they are doing may not be your calling.
Why not take a moment now to ask the Lord what He has called you to focus on; what your primary calling is. Jesus told us that everyone who asks (and keeps on asking) will receive (Matthew 7:8). So, we know He will answer us when we ask. Would you like to ask now?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You don’t expect me to be good at everything. And thank You that You do give each one of Your children a special gift or calling to build Your kingdom. I am one of Your children, so please would You make it clear to me what my main focus should be. What have You called me to do for you? Help me to give this my attention. Please raise up and equip people to do the things you are not asking me to do. Help me to trust You in this and to make the time to listen and to pay attention what You are saying. Thank You. Amen.
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