“Need doesn’t always constitute a call.” Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators.
The needs of others don’t always equal a calling to meet those needs.
But our calling always includes meeting the needs of others.
This is why calling can be so confusing.
And it’s also why calling can be so dangerous.
It’s confusing because it’s easy to believe, either as an individual or as an organization, that we can and should address all the needs of all the people all the time. It’s a positive impulse but it’s misdirected because when we try to meet all the needs of all the people all the time we end up unable to meet hardly any needs of any one anytime.
Calling requires knowing that we are not God and thus can’t meet all the needs of all the people all of the time and trusting Him to enlist others to do what we can’t and are not called to do.
Calling is always focused on specific people and their specific needs. At SpringHill we’re called to serve children, teens and young adults. This is not to say adults don’t have needs that SpringHill can meet or that adults are less important than children. No it’s simply that we’re called and equipped to serve young people. We trust that God has called others to serve adults.
Calling can be dangerous when we have the ability but don’t meet the needs of the individuals God has placed in our lives. It’s when we use our calling as an excuse for not doing something that we put ourselves at serious risk.
What’s the risk? Think of Jesus’ parable in Luke 16:19-31. A rich man walks daily right by a poor beggar named Lazarus without lifting a finger to meet any of Lazarus’ needs. What’s the consequence for the rich man’s inaction? He goes to Hell and he never escapes.
Now the rich man didn’t end up in Hell for ignoring all poor beggars in the world just the one in his life. And that is what separates needs from calling. The needs of the one beggar in our life is our calling, the many needs may not.