October 16, 2018 • Life for Leaders
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
“Mark, dinner! Come home now!” I must have heard this a thousand times during my childhood. I’d be out playing with my friends in the early evening when I’d hear my mother calling me home for dinner. When I heard her call, sometimes I was hungry and happily left my friends so I could enjoy a tasty dinner. But there were other times when I would much rather have finished a game of football, baseball, or whatever my chums and I were playing. Upon occasion, my mother would have to call to me again. Or, if I were really dawdling, my dad would have to call me home in his commanding voice. I knew the unwritten rule of my family, “When your calling comes, get up and get going.”
Ephesians 4:1 reminds me of my boyhood experience of being summoned for dinner. Our translation reads, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” The phrase “to live a life” translates the Greek verb peripateo, which literally means “to walk.” Biblical writers use this verb to talk about what we might refer to as our way of life or lifestyle. In Ephesians 2:10, for example, we learn that, as God’s handiwork, we have been created anew in Christ to do good works which God prepared in advance “so that we might walk [peripateo] in them.”
Thus, since we have been called by God, we need to respond by getting up and getting going. The Christian life isn’t just a matter of believing, thinking, and feeling. It is also something to be lived. It is a walk to be walked, a calling to be heeded with action.
Sometimes, the calling of God requires an actual “get going,” as people are summoned to a different place, a different job, a different community. But, for most of us, heeding God’s call doesn’t so much mean radical relocation as it does radical renovation. Though we might very well live in the same place and work at the same job, we do so with new vision, new motivation, new values, and a new way of living (see 4:22-24).
In tomorrow’s devotion, we will look more closely at how we are to live as people called by God. Today, let me encourage you to take time to reflect on how you are “walking” and whether your “walk” is a faithful response to God’s calling.
Something to Think About:
What difference does your faith make in the way you live each day?
How does Christ influence your daily work? Relationships? Dreams and goals? Use of money? Civic involvement? Play? Rest?
Something to Do:
Today, do something that you would not have done if you had not been thinking about God’s call on your life. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It might be as simple as showing kindness to someone at work who isn’t particularly likeable.
Gracious God, today I am reminded that being a Christian is not just about believing and feeling. It is also something to be lived, something to be “walked” in the world. Help me, Lord, to weigh how I’m living in light of your calling. Help me to live out my faith each day, including today. May I truly exist for the praise of your glory today. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
God’s guidance to particular work
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.