Several times in my life I have had the privilege of traveling to the foreign field to preach. In fact, just a few weeks ago I had the privilege of traveling to Mexico City to preach for Missionary Kevin Wynne. His work is an amazing work. I was with him for a Thursday evening service, and there were a few thousand people in attendance. That night there were over thirty people who accepted Christ as Saviour and followed Him in believer’s baptism. The next day I asked Bro. Wynne how many people are in the Mexico City area. He told me there were over 30 million people in the city. I asked him how many independent Baptist churches were in the city. He told me he only knew of 7 or 8 independent Baptist churches in the whole city (That was all that he knew about). It was not hard to get a burden for that city. With all the people in the city who need to be saved, and how responsive they were to the preaching of the Word of God, I could have easily come home and told people I felt called to Mexico, but just because I had a burden didn’t mean that God called me to that city.
One of the most misunderstood things in Christianity is the calling of God on a person’s life. Many times people get the calling of God mixed up with a burden. We have this idea that if a person has a burden for people, then they must be called to that area. That is the furthest thing from the truth, for a burden has nothing to do with the calling of God on one’s life. Look at the Scriptures and see how many times someone had a burden for doing what God called them to do.
When God called Moses, he didn’t have a burden for Israel. In fact, he was trying to get out of the call by using physical weaknesses. Jonah had no burden for Nineveh when God called him. Actually, Jonah ran from God’s calling before God grabbed his attention in the belly of the whale. When God called Gideon, he was afraid and thought He was talking to the wrong person. When God called Saul, he hid from the people because he had no burden to be king of Israel.
None of these men had a burden for what God called them to do. Instead, all of these men tried to talk God out of the call, but God had already called them and God does not go back on His calling. One of the things that disturbs me about this generation in which we live in is the way people back out of the calling of God on their lives. Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Once God calls a person, it doesn’t matter whether or not they have a burden, they are to obey God’s calling and go.
I have watched men jump in and out of evangelism, the pastorate and being a missionary, and the truth is I wonder if they were even called. There is no doubt in my mind what God has called me to do. When you are called of God, you don’t have a doubt about His calling. God’s calling is a very sure thing that is not based on the emotion of a burden, but on the fact of what God has called you to do. Many people say they are called to do something because they have a burden for something, but when the burden leaves, guess what, they leave. Why?Because hard times will cause a burden to leave; however, hard times will never change the call of God on your life. You must always realize that just because you have a burden to do something or to go somewhere does not mean God called you to do it. You should only do things because God has called you. Let me give you several thoughts about this subject.
1. The call of God is not based on a burden.
Nowhere in the Scriptures do you find that God called someone because of a burden. It’s not hard to get a burden where thousands of people are getting saved. Have you ever noticed that it is not hard to get a burden for a field where there are thousands of people. It’s not hard to get a burden for the Philippines, New York City, Chicago, Mexico, Africa, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Detroit or Philadelphia. When you go to these places you see people everywhere. If you can go to these cities or countries and do not get a burden, then something is very wrong with your Christianity.
On the other hand, why is it that you don’t get a burden for places where people don’t get saved in abundance, or where there is not many people to reach? Why is it that you don’t have a burden for North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Sweden, France, Italy, Holland, Iraq, Iran, or some remote part of the United States? What we call a burden is not a burden, but it’s sympathy for the masses. Let me ask you, if God bases a call upon a burden, then does that mean that God doesn’t want to save the people in the harder areas where you don’t have a burden? Absolutely not! God wants people everywhere to be saved. We must not get the call of God confused with sympathy.
You must alway remember that God’s call comes first, then the burden will follow. A true burden only comes after you obey God’s call. For instance, Jesus had compassion on the multitudes after He obeyed the call and went. Again, Jesus had compassion on Lazarus’ family after He obeyed the call and went. Your burden for people should come because you spend time with them and not because of their physical plight. When you start working among the people, you will find that a true burden from God will be placed in your heart.
2. Hard times won’t change the call of God.
Hard times will come, and if you went because of a burden then you will leave when your burden leaves. Hard times will cause a burden to leave, but they will never change the call of God. On the other hand, if you went because of a call, then when hard times come and take away your burden, you will stay because your call does not change.
There have been so many hard times in my life. If I went into evangelism because of a burden, then I would have quit evangelism. Because I was called to be an evangelist, when the hard times came my call kept me in evangelism. When I faced my mother’s death, I stayed in evangelism. When I’ve faced battles from those who have tried to destroy me, I stayed in evangelism. When meetings cancel and I’m not sure from where the next love offering will come, I’ve stayed in evangelism. I’ve stayed in evangelism through these difficult times because I was called. The difficult times may have temporarily lessened my burden, but they didn’t lessen the call.
The call of God is the one thing that does not change even in hard times. When hard times come, you have one constant in your life and that is your call. If you follow the call of God on your life and not a burden, then you won’t have to worry about the call changing when the burden is gone.
3. If God calls you, then man cannot destroy you.
You must always remember that if man calls you, then man can destroy you. On the other hand, if God is the one Who set you up, all the gates of Hell will never take you down. Years ago a preacher vowed to destroy my ministry. He physically threatened me, and also told me that if it was the last thing he did he would destroy my ministry. Well, I’m still in the ministry because God is the One Who set me up in the ministry. Because I followed God’s call, man could not take me down.
Stop listening to man’s call and get on your knees and find out what God wants you to become. What you need to do more than anything else is find the mind of Christ for your life. Christian, when you find the call of God and follow it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else will try to do to you, God will keep you in your calling.
4. The call of God is never based on convenience.
Stop trying to figure out what would be convenient and do God’s will. You don’t go somewhere because it’s close to home, you go somewhere because it’s God’s will. If you go somewhere because of your family being near, then what are you going to do when God takes them to Heaven? Never base God’s call on convenience. Don’t go to a place because the conditions are easy, but go to a place because God called you. Don’t go and see if you are compatible for a place, but go to a place because God called you.
For most of my ministry I have lived thousands of miles away from family. The reason I have been able to keep on going is because I followed God’s call and not convenience. It hasn’t always been convenient to be away from my wife and daughter, but I’ve chosen to follow the call of God which has kept me going. If you base what you do for God on convenience, then you will soon find that it will be inconvenient to follow God’s call for your life. God never bases His will for your life on how convenient it is for you.
5. If God has called you, then do what God has called you to do and nothing else.
Stop waiting to do God’s calling till you’re older and more mature. Do it now! I’m tired of hearing young people say they will wait until they are older to do what God has called them to do. If God has called you to pastor, then go pastor a church. If God has called you to work a bus route for the rest of your life, then jump in and work a bus route. God knew when He called you what your age and shortcomings were, so go do what God wants you to do. If God has called you to pastor, then don’t be an assistant. Go pastor! If God has called you to be a missionary, then go be a missionary! If God has called you to be an evangelist, then go be an evangelist!
This world is dying for people who will do God’s will immediately. There are many people who have gone to Hell because someone waited until a later date. It’s about time you listen to God’s call and stop waiting for a burden. You will find that those who stay in the ministry did not go into the ministry because of a burden, but they went into the ministry because they were called. You will find that their burden was placed in their heart after they surrendered to God’s call. Let me challenge you today to start following God’s call on your life. Don’t wait for a burden to move you because the Devil will do His best to make sure you never have a burden for the area God called you. Learn to follow the call of God, so when the burden has temporarily left, you will continue doing what God has called you to do.
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with our daily updates and devotionals.