Updated: Aug 9, 2022
Recently I volunteered at my church's summer youth camp. The theme of the camp messages was finding purpose. One of the speakers posed a very poignant question that applied not just to the teenagers, but to all of us: "How can you be the person you were called to be in the middle of where you are?”
After the message, I spoke with a teenager who wants to create a transitional housing project for the homeless. It's an amazing dream, and I hope she fulfills it. I'm actually helping her with that dream through connections I have. Along the way, I hope to show her the steps that go into such a dream.
For example, for myself, Cecil Taylor Ministries is a summation of the adventures of my life. My experience as a preacher's kid, my decades of service teaching youth and adults in church settings, my primary career in technology business and management, my secondary career in sports broadcasting and news reporting, the joys and crises in my personal life - all of these prepared me for Cecil Taylor Ministries. Without any one of them, what I offer now would not be the same as I teach Christians how to live a 7-day practical faith.
Similarly, this young lady may have to gain vocational, volunteer and personal experience of different kinds before she can fully realize her dream of helping the homeless, what she sees as her purpose.
But the question remains: "How can you be the person you were called to be in the middle of where you are?” At every step on the journey, we are still called to be the person God calls us to be, whether we are achieving a particular purpose at the time or not.
Not all of us are called to become an ordained minister or serve the homeless. But we are still called, in some way, right where we are.
The Apostle Peter saw us all as priests, regardless of whether we had actually trained to be a priest. In 1 Peter 2: 9, he writes:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We are chosen to serve, to be holy and set apart, to declare God's glory and what he has done for us. We can do that wherever we are. And I know this: Wherever you are, God needs one of his priests right there. You may reside in a slum or an assisted living center. You may feel blessed or depressed. You may be young, old, older or oldest. You may be a busy stay-at-home mom reading this when your child finally naps, or you may be a busy executive who can barely find time to read this blog. Wherever you are, I can promise that God needs you, today, to be the person you are called to be.
What does it mean to be called, to be sent? In my released video series and upcoming book "Live Like You're Loved," I talk about how God commonly sends us and personally sends us. When we talk about calling, we are usually referring to the idea of a personal purpose that God has in mind for us. In my view, those personal purposes may change over time. I have felt called to act, and I have felt called to clear my calendar in order to serve my family. Personal purpose shifts depending on your circumstance and on God's will at that point in your life.
We are all commonly sent by God, and this is where we can exercise being the person we're called to be right where we are. There are all kinds of instruction in the Bible for how we are commonly sent, how we are to be and do. One example is from the Apostle Paul in Romans 12: 10-13:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
In practicing these scripture-based actions and qualities, we can be the person we were called to be, a member of God's royal priesthood, right in the middle of where life finds us now.