Why Living Life “On Call” Is Better Than Being “Called” into Ministry

August 13, 2019

Acts 13:1-3 (in context)

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.


I am sitting in perhaps the busiest Starbucks in the city as I write today. I sensed a nudge from the Holy Spirit to write from this context. I thought to myself, “Makes sense. The place will be filled with the kinds of people I want to write the Daily Text for.” I just read the text for today and it caused me to reinterpret things. Now, all of a sudden, I am understanding myself as “sent” one. My mission is here this morning.

And what is the mission? Here’s how I understand it: Be present. Be attentive. Be open. I’m not going to contrive an opportunity to “share the gospel” with the guy sitting across from me lost in his phone—unless the Holy Spirit says to. I’m not going to try to start a “spiritual” conversation with the barrista behind the counter—unless the Holy Spirit says to. I am going to be present, be attentive, and be open. I am going to write. In short, I am going to be here as one who is sent to be here. I am going to understand myself and my vocation today as a “sent one.” And while I’m at it, I am going to write these words as though writing them to all of these people passing through this coffee shop.

Isn’t that what it means to be a follower of Jesus? Didn’t he say something like, “As the Father sent me so I send you.” He took it a radical step further though. He said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

We tend to think in the binary categories of “Called to Ministry” or “Just a Layperson.” Nothing quenches the Holy Spirit like this kind of self-disqualification from the game. How about we banish the language of “Called to Ministry,” as though it were a category for a certain group of people? What if instead we thought more along the lines of being a “Sent One” who lives their daily life “On Call”?

What if all the followers of Jesus present today in this coffee shop had this same self-understanding? I am a “Sent One” set apart yet right in the middle of everything, and living life today “On Call” present, attentive, and open to the Holy Spirit and ready to respond.

How about it?

And then I remembered what the Lord had said . . .

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22)




Why do we tend to think of being “Called into the Ministry” as an extraordinary thing reserved for only a relatively few people? Are you trapped in that way of thinking? How does today’s reflection challenge you?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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