Last Sunday, through the clogged sinuses of a springtime allergy sufferer, I talked about the conversion of Paul (then called Saul) on the road to Damascus. I talked about how he was struck blind by the bright light that accompanied Jesus’ appearance. And then I talked about how Ananias, the man who healed his blindness, was called to action by a visit from Jesus too.
Very few of us profess to have been visited by Jesus, but almost all of us have received a call. A spiritual call is something that is hard to identify sometimes. Often it starts as just something you notice – “Wow there are a lot of hungry people in our town.” Then it becomes something you wonder about – “Why are so many people hungry?” Then it’s something that gets to you – “Someone should really do something about all of this hunger around us!”
Our calls can make us feel inadequate – “I can never feed all of the hungry people in my town.” At this point, most people who are wrestling with their call will look for someone else to take over – “Who can feed these people?” Meanwhile all in the back of our minds we hear the voice that says, “You’ve got to do something.”
It’s true that one person can never fix a problem so pervasive as hunger. There’s always more than a single person can handle. But the other side of that coin is that one person can make a difference. Ananias’ call came straight from Jesus and there wasn’t a lot of need for “figuring out” what he was asked to do, but most of us can’t claim that same certainty. Having questions like, “Why doesn’t anybody help?” is usually a good indicator that you’re the one who is called to help. The only question after that is: Having been called, what next?
That’s not an easy question to answer, but supporting one another’s calls is one of the things that a strong church community does well, and if you find yourself called into action you probably won’t have to look too far for someone that shares your call or knows how to get you the support you need to make it happen.
It’s a question I ask myself often, and it’s a question that everyone will have to ask multiple times in their life.
Having been called, what next?