At Work

Avoid These Knock-Off Starting Blocks When Discerning Your Calling

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When it comes to discerning calling, getting the right start is critical to the entire process. That is why you need the right starting blocks.

Starting blocks are the most critical component of every race. Some might be in favor of the shoes, the track, the years of training, or even the runner. While all play a crucial role, I want to draw your attention to the power of starting blocks, because without the right starting blocks, you cannot run the right race.

For Christians, our race is our calling. I spend a great deal of time connecting people to calling. But somewhere along the line, our starting blocks went missing. Rather than finding the originals, we’ve replaced them with nice looking knock-offs that fall short of doing the job for which they were intended.

Let’s consider three common starting blocks that could be considered knock-offs.


The first replacement starting block deals with money. You have probably been asked the question, “If money were no object, how would you spend the rest of your life?” The question certainly has its merits, but having been around the block a few times, I am compelled to say that money will always be an object.

While that may sound harsh, it is important to know that God uses both the excess of money and the lack of it to build our faith and his kingdom in beautiful and unexpected ways. So the assumption of money has no bearing on the issue of calling.


The second replacement starting block addresses success. You may have heard this question, “If you knew that you could not fail, what would you be willing to attempt?” Just as money will always be an object, failure will always be a reality.

Again a seemingly harsh statement, but over the years I have discovered the grace behind failure as well as its importance. God uses failure as a tool in our lives to grow us in godliness – to make us more like him. Calling is not determined by what I would do if my obstacles were removed – whether finances, time, health, education, etc.

Individual Rights

The third replacement starting block revolves around our perception of individual rights. The Declaration of Independence states that we all have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I am on board with the right to life and liberty but must take a step back on the pursuit of happiness. It is not that the pursuit is wrong, but when elevated to a right, it validates sinful choices.

For example, if the source of my happiness is wealth, then it validates my greed. If the source of my happiness is sex then it validates my lust. If the source of happiness is personal freedom then it validates my idolatry of self. Happiness is not a compass for calling. Consider the Christians of the early church who were called to persecution for the advancement of the gospel. Their personal happiness was not an indicator or element of their calling.

When it comes to starting blocks, the knock-offs can be very convincing. To discover the originals we must probe into the heart of Scripture. In future posts, we’ll do some digging to discover the real thing.

Copyright © Mark Dawson 2016

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  • LorenR

    Great article. I think it’s important to note that our right to the pursuit of happiness is meant to be a right before the government and other people, not before God. In other words, the government & others must allow me the freedom to flourish as I see fit, as long as my pursuit doesn’t infringe on the right of another to do so. (Sometimes this is tricky, hence the courts!) My right to the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence is not meant to be a moral compass but a clarification on the role of government and the legal power of others in my life.

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