Rev. Jennifer Newell
A very wise woman once told me that I could discern God's call by paying attention to what got me excited. When my gifts and passion (enthusiasm, energy) for doing some particular job or addressing a particular type of problem dove-tails with the needs around me, that might just be a call from God.
This means that you and I might be in the exact same situation, but feel very different calls. I might look at a Sunday School room full of kids and see a need for strong, age-appropriate opportunities to learn about God (my call); you might feel a need to pray (your call); someone else might open their wallet to put a little extra in the offering plate (that person's call); and another person might notice that the room is not as warm and welcoming and friendly as it could be (yet another call). That doesn't mean I won't also pray and give and help paint the classroom (or you won't also give and mentor and help us find the right sized furniture for the class): but our primary focus will be a little different.
This is why we're in this "church" adventure together. It takes an entire church full of people (or, as the Apostle Paul puts it, a whole "body" of Christ) to do the work that's right here in front of our noses. Your contribution to the work doesn't look exactly like mine (and it's not supposed to). If that lack of "sameness" bothers either one of us, we need to take a minute and remember that we serve a God whose plans are far bigger than both of us.
I know (firsthand) how "reasonable" it seems to say NO when God calls...but I also know (firsthand) how amazing it can be when you say YES. Saying YES to God's call is saying YES to who God created you to be in the first place...and there is a lot of joy in that.
Jen Newell is pastor of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Tennessee where they are beginning their 31st year of LOGOS ministry.