The word ‘calling’ in Korean means ‘an envoy who goes out with orders’. The key point of ‘a calling’ is to be sent. Let’s ask ourselves a question. Who sent me? A believer will usually answer that he was ‘sent by the Lord’. This is not wrong. Didn’t the Lord say, “Receive the Holy Spirit!” and “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”?
But let’s be more specific now. When someone asks, “Where are you going?” at the LA airport, you can say, “I’m going to South Korea”. But you cannot give the same reply when you arrive at Incheon Airport. This question was given to trainees during a teaching class for new ministers. “How do you identify yourself?” Some replied, “I am a pastor”, but most people said, “I am the Lord’s worker”. The instructor’s reply was, “If an ordinary believer gave that answer, it is understandable, but this is not enough for those who want to be ministers in the church. Think more specifically about your identity.”
I heard this story from a former career soldier. When he was a captain, there was a troublesome manager of personnel in his unit. He claimed to be a patriot without comparison, but he was often lazy and drank during office hours, and ignored instructions of higher officers. Even the battalion commander stepped forward to deal with him, but it was no use. One day, the manager became extra confident. He sent a letter to the president (who had a military background), and he received a parcel from the Blue House. In the parcel, there was a national flag hand signed by the president. After that, the manager paraded the flag and chanted, “Long live the Republic of Korea!” But the captain and battalion commander suffered in silence.
Some think that they are sent by the Lord, but they actually ignore the sending of the church. The church is the Lord’s body. The Holy Spirit (who dwelt in God) came on Jesus Christ, and now He works in the church. Of course, from an individual’s point of view, you can say, “the Holy Spirit entered me.” But the Lord reveals the Holy Spirit to benefit the church. The church is the Lord’s body, so He protects and nurtures it. The Lord values it so much that He said, “If someone refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector” (Mt 18:17).
There are many people in the church. They each have different backgrounds, understanding, thoughts, points of view, and paths of life. If they all act by their own judgment and insist, ‘I am working because I am sent by the Lord’, then pastors will suffer. The Lord wanted different parts to move as one body, and set up the overseer to shepherd the church (which He purchased with His own blood) (Acts 20:28).
You cannot say a person is a patriot because he parades around with a national flag. This is the same for those who are called. If a person accepts the orders of the church and is faithful to his entrusted duty – God will regard this person as being called. In the New Testament, the word for ‘duty’ and ‘calling’ are the same. In that teaching class for ministers – the identity which the trainees should have had was ‘one who is sent by the overseer’. In fact, it is not just church workers. Any believer who has received the Holy Spirit should have this identity.
Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center