Have you ever wondered, when God first laid out his plan for the world – who got to be involved? Or maybe it’s a little more personal, asking: Does God have a place for me in his kingdom plan?
From childhood we grow up sensing God’s divine purpose for our lives. It’s a stirring – a knowing deep within us that we were made to be, made to do something extraordinary!
Unfortunately, along the way we often run into this idea of ‘calling’ – something mysterious that we have to uncover and hope we don’t get wrong. So we wrestle with questions like: But what if I’m not called to God’s work? Then what? Are some called while others are left sitting on the sidelines?
To help answer this – to help us really begin to understand who God included in his plan for the world – we need to go back to the beginning, to the garden story of Genesis 1 and 2 where God reveals what he was up to in the first place.
It's here in these chapters that we catch the first glimpse of God's kingdom – the place where he reigns. Genesis 1 opens with a God who is all-powerful, 'architecting,' and speaking into existence a good world.
What God does next would have turned the heads of any readers living in the ancient world. The All-Powerful Godhead shares his authority.
He creates the 'adam', the human made in his own image. This is his reflection, a representative of his interests.
Imagine the Israelites first hearing this story. They were quite possible listening in the middle of the desert, after living enslaved for centuries. Power-sharing wasn’t something they had ever known from a ruler.
On the one hand, the idea of God’s image being represented in the world was nothing new. It was commonly understood that the king, the Pharaoh, was God’s image, made to reflect and represent his work on the planet.
And yet, this message held something entirely new – shocking even. The idea that everyone, from king to cupbearer, was made in God’s image, to reflect and represent him in God’s Kingdom story – turned the prevailing idea of the day on its head. It was downright radical.
So, what does all this have to do with calling?
Simply put, the idea of calling has been misunderstood in the church. We’ve separated our lives into the sacred and secular. This view of the world has distorted our thinking and introduced this idea of varying tiers of calling. There are those 'called' to full-time service to God, and everyone else.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Here, in this story, God himself makes it crystal clear.
Who is called? Every human, as we are all made in the image of God.
It’s your neighbor and the cashier in the local shop; your colleague at work and your professor; even your parent and sibling.
You are made in the image of God and with that birthright comes a kingdom calling – to image our Creator in the world.
You are not excluded. The who of God's mission is you.
Written by Jonathan Thiessen
Scatter Global Co-Founder