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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Wisdom and Calling | Wisdom Series

I sent messengers to them with this reply: ‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
Nehemiah 6:3-4


In a conversation from Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ responds the cat. ‘I don’t much care where,’ says Alice. ‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the cat.

Wisdom requires us to make our day-to-day decisions in the context of our calling. As Christians, our calling has several dimensions:

Firstly, to be with Jesus: the call of the first disciples was that they might be with him and become like him – to be conformed to his image (Romans 8:29). This is an ongoing work of transformation, as we become spiritually mature. The ongoing habits of prayer and spending time in God’s word allow us to become more intimate with God.

Secondly, to make God known to the people we meet in our workplaces, our families, our neighbourhoods, and on our frontline. As we know God more intimately and become like him, we become living signposts to his goodness and love.

Thirdly, to steward the unique combination of desires, experience, talents, training, relational networks, and opportunities God has given us. Our call is always to relationship with others as well as the tasks we are given to do. Understanding our unique calling enables us to give it our wholehearted ‘yes’ and, like Nehemiah, to refuse the distractions that would pull us away. This takes prayer and reflection (see Nehemiah 1).

The temptation in our time-pressured society is to keep moving without pausing to take compass bearings and check our course. Too late do we find ourselves at a destination point that fails to satisfy or is futile.

If we want to live wisely and make wise choices we need to press the ‘pause’ button for as long as it takes to check that we have first things first. Whatever else we may be in the process of gaining, we cannot forget who we are and whose we are.

Bev Shepherd

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