Rooftops, Compartments, and Callings

Called to Everything!
Sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake. For example, just a few weeks ago I realized that I’m troubled by the concept of my “calling.” Generally when we talk about one’s calling, we’re referring to a special purpose one is put on this planet to fulfill. You know, your pastor was called to ministry. And so on. God put us here for a purpose. He’ll equip us with the skills and heart we need to fulfill that purpose, if we submit to His will.
I’m struggling to figure this out: If I’m called to a specific purpose, how does my activity directed to its fulfillment differ from my activity in every other aspect of my life, all the stuff I’m not called to do? Why would I invest any time in tasks that don’t further my mission in life?

Once I look at this problem, it takes just a bit of squinting to focus on “compartmentalizing” my faith. The danger is that I end up with a sacred hour or so on Sunday (the church compartment), while the rest of the week is secular, except for those moments, hours, days devoted to my calling. So I strive to live my faith at work (another compartment) or at home (another compartment).

I’ve taken to thinking of my life like the busy skyline of Chicago. That tall building in the center of the photo? That’s my family. Behind it, another skyscraper represents my career. Another building stands for my relationships with neighbors. One of the really squatty ones is self-care: mundane tasks like brushing my teeth. They rise to different heights.
But they all meet the ground at the same level.
And it’s there, at ground level, that the buildings begin to look not-so-distinct. Try to separate them–compartmentalize them–and you discover that at ground level, it’s hard to spot separate compartments. The same sidewalk wraps several buildings into a package. Behind their facades, the guts of the buildings all tap in to the same water supply and sewer system. They draw electricity from the same source, each building’s power running renegade from the system to course down its own line to the distribution panel. Teasing these elements apart would prove as painstaking as separating conjoined twins.
It’s down here, where these structures root themselves to earth, that you find their foundations. At their foundations, all the buildings draw their strength, their integrity, from the earth beneath them. And the earth’s surface is one continuous piece that wraps all the way around the planet, reaching up over a mountain here and dipping down, down beneath the sea there, but one surface, all the same.
All the different structures of my life meet their foundations at the same place. That place is worship. The purpose of my life is to glorify God. And whether I’m chatting with my husband, planning a staff meeting, sharing tomatoes with my neighbor, or combing my hair, my calling is the same.
I’m to make it all an act of worship.
That point is so obvious that I’m embarrassed it took me fifty-two years to grasp it. But there it is.
This changes everything.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23 (NLT)


  1. This is a powerful post. I like it. I get it. The buildings — all different heights, but all start at the same place.

    And so do we.

  2. Thanks, David.

    Yes, we do!

  3. I agree with David.

    And I hope and pray that by the time I'm 52, I also have it figured out. 😉


  4. Hi Duane,
    Thanks for stopping by! I'm still struggling to "figure it out…" But it's an amazing struggle!