What is a ‘call’?

‘Having a call’ was a familiar phrase in my family’s vocabulary. I grew up going to meetings where missionaries were showing slides of their work, or where a preacher was passionately pleading for people to surrender their lives and offer to serve in missions overseas. This left me with the idea that a call was tied up with serving God in a foreign nation; that it was a definite experience, very individual, very personal and usually came in a meeting.

I went to Bible college with the aim of becoming an RE teacher and receiving my call to then pop off to the mission field and teach in another county. The call did not come. However much I tried to convince myself and however often I told God that I was ready, willing and eager, I could not kid myself, He did not seem to be calling me.

Throughout the last year of Bible college, I had resolutely resisted the efforts of members of the opposite sex, but hovering in the wings was a patient young man who seemed to have an interest in me. I did not dare embark on a relationship that could lead me to marriage and thus divert me from the possibility of a call. I couldn’t see exactly how you could give your love to a husband and at the same time totally love God. Eventually, God spoke to me clearly these words ‘Terry Virgo is My call on your life’. I was very happy to adapt, but it took me a long time to understand that a call is more than going to a geographical location.

So what is it? Is the idea of a call biblical? Should every Christian expect to have one? Or is it only for a select few who are drawn to a specialised ministry? What do we mean by a call?

Adapted from Leading Ladies and Sarah: Mother of a Nation


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