Living Out Your High Calling

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Providence

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1).

In 1940, the sixty year old General William Dobbie was dining at his club. At the outbreak of war he’d offered his services to the War Office, but nothing had come his way. Frustrated, he was working his way through his lunch when he received a message that Field Marshal Ironside was in the club, and wanted a word. Dobbie went, and spoke to Ironside who was at that time Chief of the Imperial General Staff. Ironside wanted him to go to Malta. In what capacity, wondered Dobbie. “As Governor and Commander-in-Chief” came the reply. Astonished, but in possession of a fine military training, Dobbie simply answered: “May I ring my wife?”. A dozen days later Dobbie and his wife were in Malta, and so began the long defence which resulted in the island being awarded the George Cross.

William Dobbie was a staunch Christian, and would often surprise dinner guests by calling them to prayer at the end of meals. In Parliament, Churchill once said of him: “That remarkable man, General Dobbie — a Cromwellian figure at a key point, fighting with his Bible in one hand and his sword in the other.”

What it is to be called to duty! Such is the lot of all Christians. You have been called to a task, and to a way of life. God calls you by name, and says follow. Writes Watson:

It is one of the saddest sights—to see a man lift up his hands in prayer, and with those hands oppress; to hear the same tongue praise God at one time, and at another lie and slander; to hear a man in words profess God, and in works deny Him. Oh how unworthy is this! Yours is a holy calling, and will you be unholy? Do not think you may take liberty as others do. The Nazarite had a vow on him, separated himself to God, and promised abstinence; though others did drink wine, it was not fit for the Nazarite to do it. So, though others are loose and vain, it is not fit for those who are set apart for God by effectual calling. Are not flowers sweeter than weeds? You must be now "a peculiar people" (1 Pet. 2:9); not only peculiar in regard of dignity—but deportment. Abhor all motions of sin, because it would disparage your high calling.

Letting Jesus Be Jesus

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” - To put it simply, ask yourself this question: who is Jesus to you? Is he someone you’ve created in your own image, a better version of yourself at your best. Have you stripped him of his glory, of his divinity, and made him simply a good teacher? Have you created an imaginary Messiah, or allowed Jesus to speak for himself?

Walking in the Way

And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16) - For many long centuries we have seen ourselves as a Christian nation, and so to walk the Christian path has been straightforward. Now, though, the Christian walk might be different to societies norms. No matter. In the end there is only one path which leads to “peace and mercy”.

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