I marveled at the thought of overseas missions as a young Christian. Surely that’s what God was calling me to, right? There would be no way my life would have any value if not lived across the world taking the gospel to those unreached.
Now, several years later, I still have those desires deep within my soul, but I’ve learned a lot more about my calling since then.
As believers, the Great Commission is not limited to only a few.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19–20).
If I would have been asked as a freshman in high school, “What do you want to do after college?” I would’ve probably answered pretty confidently — some form of ministry. It’s not that my answer at this point in my life has changed, but I see “ministry” differently than I did as a 15-year-old.
After graduating from college and getting married, my husband and I settled into a new home in a new city with new jobs. It felt normal — what everyone does. As a Christian, however, it’s not just “normal.”
We have a calling.
I have no idea where the Lord will lead Brannon and me over the seasons of our lives. I do hope to one day serve in full-time ministry or in missions, but I’m learning that no matter my vocation, there is already a very radical call on my life.
We are called to make disciples wherever we are, whatever we are doing. If I’m ever unsure of God’s will for my life, I can turn to the command of Matthew 28.
As a high schooler, I assumed this calling lived out looked bold and beautiful. What I never considered was how to live obediently to that command even in the mundane.
I live in Montgomery, Alabama – not anywhere overly exciting (though I do think it’s pretty great!).
Is my calling null and void just because it’s close to home? Hardly.
Some are called to leave the comfort of their country to serve the Lord in new places — and maybe that is your calling. But those callings aren’t “better” than the ones that lead us to somewhere nearby — they are equally as important, but oftentimes ignored.
The need for the gospel isn’t based on your geographic location. Right where you are, there are people who need to be shown the love of Christ. How will you do that?
Through the past year, we have tried to be intentional about not becoming complacent where we are at. It’s hard, and please hear me when I say we have conquered nothing — we still have so much to learn. However, with the command we have on our lives, we want to live radically no matter where we are. We are still discovering exactly what that looks like for us, but here are a few things we’ve tried to practice:
- Join and actively participate in a local church body.
- Be intentional about your time.
- Seek out those around you.
- Make yourself available.
- Use your talents and gifts to serve.
- If you’re not going, send.
- Prioritize time in the Word.
- Pray for the lost.
I can go down the list and tell you how we’ve failed at each of these things, but it is our desire to honor and glorify Christ in these ways.
You’re not off the hook.
I lived a large part of my life thinking, “Well when I’m this age / in this stage / in this place then I can really serve God with my life.”
The truth is that I am called to serve Him exactly where my feet are planted.
I’ve come to realize one of the hardest ministries for me, personally, is in a place and around people I am most comfortable with. But that is exactly where we must start living radically for the gospel.
No matter your age, your marital status or your job — you’re not off the hook. You are called to love God and love others. How are you walking in obedience to that calling?
Take the next step.
I have always struggled with trying to figure out God’s plans for my life — trying to see what’s around the corner. Sometimes, those plans aren’t for us to know. We are called to honor Him with just the next step.
An analogy I heard recently explained this well. When you’re hiking a mountain, your eyes follow the ground to make sure you don’t trip over any limbs or rocks. However, every few minutes, you glance up to see what’s up ahead. A lot of times our lives might look exactly like this. It’s not bad to plan and dream for the future, taking those glances to see what’s to come, but don’t forget to also put energy into making sure you’re doing well right where your foot is currently standing.
My husband and I both have a desire to serve the Lord through missions and ministry, and maybe one day that will look like selling all we have and moving to a new place with new people. But right now, we are called to serve the community we are in, work well at the jobs we’ve been given and walk faithfully with a local church while supporting those who are called to go in this season.
We’re not off the hook – and neither are you.
Emily Jones is this week’s guest contributor for The Rope. Emily works as a digital media specialist at one of TAB Media’s partners, Dogwood Media Solutions. She is from Headland, Alabama, and moved to Montgomery after graduating from Troy University and marrying Brannon in December 2019. To read more from Emily, visit her personal blog, Remembering + Rejoicing.