When it comes to discerning calling, the right starting blocks are critical to the entire race. Previously, we explored the knock-off starting blocks: “If money were no object…”; “If you knew you could not fail…”; and “You have a right to…”.
In order to discover the original starting blocks, we must first probe the heart of Scripture.
Discovering the originals requires a brief overview of Scripture. I believe the following outline captures the essence of the biblical narrative:
- God makes it (Genesis 1-2)
- Man breaks it (Genesis 3)
- Christ redeems it (Genesis 3 – Revelation 19)
- Christ renews it (Revelation 21-22)
This outline reveals the Bible as a single, unfolding and redemptive drama. History begins in Genesis with the creation of the world and ends in Revelation with its renewal. You and I live somewhere in between these two extremes, in the now and the not yet. The essential point is that we are a part of this epic “race” of history.
Living between the Letters and Revelation
In Genesis 1, God calls the first couple to populate the earth and to rule over every part of it. What an awesome job description. Unfortunately, by chapter 3, they disobey God and, as a result, fracture his perfect and beautiful creation.
In this heart-breaking narrative, we hear the first promise of a Redeemer. One will come who will “reset” creation to its original perfection, though at great cost. This portion of Scripture is found in the Historical Books (Genesis—Job), which tell the story of a people getting to know God and his redemptive work in the midst of a painfully broken world.
The next section of Scripture is known as the Wisdom Literature (Psalms—Song of Solomon), instructing us how to live redemptively in the midst of great brokenness. After this comes the Prophets (Isaiah—Malachi) whose purpose was to instruct us on how to live redemptively and in anticipation of the coming Redeemer.
As we move into the New Testament, the Gospels (Matthew-John) and Acts tell us of the Redeemer’s arrival and redemptive work. The Letters (Romans—Jude) instruct the church and her leaders on transformational living both in community and with a mission of redemption. Finally the last book, Revelation, describes the season of time just prior to a completed redemption with the last two chapters focusing on the new heavens and new earth.
You and I have been dropped right in the middle of it all. We are living somewhere between the Letters and Revelation, or perhaps even in that final season leading up to the ultimate “reset”.
We Are Not Spectators
This overview prompts a few questions:
- If our original job description revolved around ruling creation in a perfect world, would not our current job description revolve around redeeming creation in a broken world?
- As his image-bearers, should our hearts not reflect his heart and our purposes reflect his purposes?
- Given that the trajectory of Scripture is toward the renewal of creation, should our lives not be tied to the same trajectory?
In short, we are joining a race that began long ago and will end with the renewal of the world. Here is the most amazing part – you and I are not spectators, we are a part of this epic race.
When it comes to calling, the original starting blocks have nothing to do with an abundance of money, the lack of obstacles, or personal happiness. However, they have everything to do with the trajectory of Scripture, God’s redemptive work.
Discovering your calling is all about finding your place in that race, your role in redemption. That may sound like a tall order, but it really boils down to a key idea – intelligent design. God, who set redemptive history in motion, created you in specific ways to accomplish specific things that play into his redemptive work.
This idea gives rise to two questions: God created you in specific ways, so who were you created to be? God created you to accomplish specific things, so what were you created to do?
How you answer these questions could revolutionize your life, and, as bold as it sounds, allow you to participate more fully in God’s work to reconcile all of creation to himself.
Copyright © Mark Dawson 2016