“I pray that eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling…” Ephesians 1:18a
Calling is a word that gets thrown around a lot in Christian circles. We say that people are called to salvation, and we say that people are called to ministry. Sometimes we have this strong impression through the Holy Spirit that God is calling to us do something specific like give generously to someone or share the gospel with a specific person. Sometimes, young Christian guys will even tell girls that God is calling them to “be together.” (Not that I have ever used that line in my past.) Whatever we mean by, “calling,” it’s a sense that God has something he wants us to do.
Since a calling normally comes with a task or commandment, they can easily become burdensome. If someone believes they are called to a certain task, there will be times when that task is not desirable. People won’t always be easy to deal with. Confidence in your ability to fulfill the calling will certainly be lacking at times. There will even be days when you wish you didn’t have this calling. The Bible shows us that Moses and many of the Old Testament prophets felt this way.
This can be true when it comes to following Jesus. We have been called out by God himself to belong to his family. As members of God’s family, we are brought under the Lordship of Jesus. We are called to know him, love him, and obey him. We are sinful people, and we live in a sinful world. There will be days when we don’t want to fulfill the calling of following Christ. Maybe doing the right thing will cost us more than we’re willing to sacrifice. Maybe we’re weary of being different than the people around us who don’t know Christ and sticking out like a sore thumb. Maybe life has just beaten us down, and we’re tired of getting back up.
But the calling that comes from God to follow Christ isn’t simply a task or burden on our lives. It’s so much more than God telling us, “hey do this and do that.” God doesn’t expect us to become great or change everything that’s wrong in the world. Our calling as believers is one that comes with hope. In this simple prayer, Paul is asking that the Ephesian believers would see that their calling is accompanied by a glorious hope in a glorious God. There may be difficult days, but our hope is in a resurrected king who will bring us into a resurrected future. No matter our task, calling, or journey in life, we are a people who are called to hope.
The next time you think about being called to something as a Christian, whatever it may be, remember that there is always more to your life’s journey than you can see. Obedience might cost, days may get tough, but you are called to an eternal, unimaginable, and solid hope in Christ Jesus.