Have you ever been called to do something? Have you ever had God calling you to serve or lead in some way? Has God has spoken to you about serving in a particular way, and you know in your bones that this is what you are to do? You are convicted in your calling, and then along comes someone who questions you or criticizes what you are doing. How are you to respond when someone questions your call?
David wasn’t looking for a new job when God called him to be the next king of Israel. Saul was chosen as the first king of Israel. Standing head and shoulders above everyone else, Saul looked the part of a king. The people of God wanted a king like all the other nations around them. God had warned them that kings would take their wealth and lead them astray, but they didn’t listen.
Sadly, Saul did not walk in the ways of a godly king. He stopped listening and waiting for the prophet Samuel. Saul stopped listening and waiting for God. So, God told Samuel that He was going to choose a new leader.
When Your Dad Questions Your Call: Jesse & David
God sent Samuel to the home of Jesse to anoint a new king. Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to a sacrifice. What an honor! Of course, Jesse and his sons came. When Samuel looked over the sons, he immediately assumed that God would choose the eldest son, Eliab. No, that was not God’s choice.
“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Seven sons paraded before Samuel in this future king contestant line, and God said no to all of them. Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more sons. David’s dad said that there was one more, the youngest and was keeping the sheep. So, Jesse sent for David. When David arrived, God told Samuel that this was the one that God had chosen.
David was the youngest of eight sons. Meeting the prophet was a colossal event, and yet his dad had left him out. He was overlooked and forgotten. As the youngest, David was the one who had to take care of the sheep while the rest of his big brothers dined with the dignitary.
Sometimes a family member questions your call. Some families won’t let us grow up or change from who we used to be. They won’t let us forget our mistakes. They don’t think that we are something special. Yet, in Christ, we are new creations. The reality is that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things if we will follow his lead.
When your family questions your call, it can be deeply hurtful. Confirm your calling in prayer and press on. Persevere and pray that God will speak to them.
David’s story is not the only one in scripture about having to persevere in spite of the objection of others. Job had to deal with those closest to him questioning his commitment and faithful to God. The folks in Jesus’ hometown didn’t believe that he could be the Messiah either!
When Someone Who Knows Better Questions Your Calling: David & Eliab
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” 1 Samuel 16:13
All David’s brothers were gathered together and were witnesses to David’s anointing by Samuel. They knew that God had called their youngest brother to be the next King of Israel. I imagine some of them still wondered, despite having seen with their own eyes, why God chose David above any of the rest of them.
The person who was likely the most floored by God’s decision was Eliab. The oldest son was expected to be the one to lead, yet God had not chosen him. Eliab’s frustration boils over when David is sent to the battlefront with supplies by his father. The three firstborn of Jesse served together in Saul’s army, while David was home tending the sheep.
When David arrives at the camp, he hears the taunts of Goliath that have been going on for almost forty days! David is rightfully angered at Goliath’s disrespect toward God. His is a voice of truth and courage in a place that was full of fear.
“Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, ‘Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’ And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 1 Samuel 17:28-29
Can’t you just hear the frustration in David’s voice when he asks his brother what he has done now that has gotten him so upset. (As brothers, you know this is not the first time that they have argued with one another.) Do you ever have someone that always seems to always be pointing out your flaws? Do you have someone who is always questioning your motives?
Related Post: Explore more about David & Eliab in What to Do When Your Motives Are Questioned
Often times when someone is questions your call, it is their own fear and shame talking. Many people are afraid to step outside of their comfort zones and follow God. They turn their fear and shame on those around them that do have the courage to do a bold thing for God.
Don’t let their fear be your fear! Don’t let their shame be your shame! When you follow in the footsteps of Christ, expect to have opposition just like Christ experienced. When the Devil starts putting obstacles in your path, it is not the time to stop, but time to press through and press harder!
When Other Question Your Call because You Do it Differently
David tried to answer the call to battle Goliath first wearing Saul’s armor. They dressed David in a helmet, a coat of mail, and a sword. It was not a good fit. Instead, David went out to meet Goliath in his regular clothes with only a staff and five smooth stones in a sling. Goliath even laughed when David came out because he was not dressed the way a soldier was supposed to be dressed.
God has given each of us a unique set of gifts and skills. How you go about meeting a need or answer a call might be very different from someone else. Not every preacher has to preach the same way to be an effective preacher. Not every teacher has to teach the exact same way in order to be an outstanding teacher. Not every mom needs to be perfectly put together or the perfect homemaker.
Maybe your path has been a little unorthodox. Perhaps your approach is new and hasn’t been done before. Most people do not like new ideas. They will resist others with new ideas too. Ignore the critics, and be who God has called you to be.
Don’t try to put on someone else’s armor. Instead, lean into the gifts and skills that God has given you. God can use the new and the unexpected. The most important thing is to listen to how God is calling you to slay the giants in your path.
When Your Problems Make You Question Your Calling
Goliath knew how to talk smack. He spent forty days speaking fear into the hearts of the Israelite warriors. Goliath also had the muscles to back up that smack talk. The giant was huge.
Life gives us problems that are huge and overwhelming. Sometimes the tasks that we are called to seem way too big for us to accomplish on our own. God specializes in these kinds of callings, which give Him a chance to show off His glory!
Goliath was a battle-tested warrior who saw no threat in David. Yet, God was with David and with one stone the giant was killed. When God is with us, no enemy can stand against us. When “Goliath” questions your call, ignore those voices!
When You Doubt Your Anointing and Question Your Calling
There will always be opposition in this world to the will of God. We have to actively fight to stay on the right path and to keep our faces turned to God.
Be careful who you are listening to regarding your call. Trust in the One who has called you. Yes, it might be impossible in your own power and might. Yet, with God, all things are possible!
Renew your calling by soaking up the words of Scripture. Hear God’s words to you again as you spend time with Him in prayer. Write down God’s truths and God’s confirmations in a journal to be a reminder of your calling during periods of doubt and wondering.
God has a call for each of us. More than just pastors receive a call. Some are called to serve others as doctors, nurses, etc. Others are called to be teachers. Some are called to preserve justice as police officers or lawyers. Some are called to be mothers who stay at home.
Where ever we are called to serve, we all have the same mission to go forth and make disciples of Jesus. When that task seems bigger than Goliath, know that God is with you. When someone questions your call, respond with faith.