Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Milton on calling

Apart from being a theologian and blogger par excellence, Ben Myers is also a published expert on 17thC English poet John Milton. He's posted a great Milton poem and some liberating reflections on what it means to be called by God. Particularly relevant for those of us who find our own urgent sense of importance paralysing our ability to serve.

6 comments:

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, Byron.

"... our own urgent sense of importance" -- nicely put!

michael jensen said...

Your words are particularly resonant of course...

Craig Bennett said...

Particularly relevant for those of us who find our own urgent sense of importance paralysing our ability to serve.

This is a powerful comment Byron.

To be called by God is not the same as achieving things for God. To be called by God is to wait on God, to be ready for God’s voice.

Ben made this comment regarding Milton's poem.
I have often wondered about the idea regarding calling in some circles. That it doesn't matter what we do, so you might as well become a preacher / minister without needing the urge of having a personal calling from God to do so.

Yet on a deeper personal level, I resonate with Milton as I do feel strongly that God has called me into ministry. Towards the end of last year while sitting in a wheel chair at the back of church on day release from hospital. I again felt Gods calling on my life once again, where he showed me a vision of a fiery cross over Tahmoor, asking me to plant a church once again.

In perhaps what was one of my lowest physical points of my life, I prayed; "Lord if this is what you are calling me to do, then you have to do it, I have no strength what so ever to do so"

So in my / our weakness God is strong, and through it true identity and community is truly being built and acknowledged.

byron smith said...

I have often wondered about the idea regarding calling in some circles. That it doesn't matter what we do, so you might as well become a preacher / minister without needing the urge of having a personal calling from God to do so.
What have you wondered about it? Do you think that God's calling is the same for everyone?

Thanks for sharing your experience too!

Craig Bennett said...

What have you wondered about it? Do you think that God's calling is the same for everyone?

My comment was in relation to Ben's quote.
I have heard it said that to go into Christian ministry you don't need to really have a sense that God has called you into it, so you might as well do it.

If my understanding of Ben is right , the attitude of not having to have heard from God before stepping into ministry is like trying to achieve stuff for him without first hearing His call.

I don't think the way God calls is the same for all, nor do I think His calling is the same for all. But I do think that Scripture supports the idea of calling in that if one is going into Christian ministry they need to have a sense that they know God has specifically called them to enter into such a ministry.

byron smith said...

Thanks for clarifying. I agree that the minimalist understanding of calling is too simplistic, though as I read it, it is a reaction against what is sometimes an obscurantist account in which a mysterious inner feeling becomes the unquestionable basis for significant life decisions. I'm not saying this is what you think, just that one caricature has produced another.