Each and every individual Christian is called by God in a particular way. God equips each of us with particular gifts that are suited for our particular call. There are a variety of gifts, because there are a variety of callings. Discerning our own particular calling is an important part of our spiritual growth, and is in reality an ongoing, life-long process.
In recent months, several of Manchester UMC’s wonderful staff members have left their positions in the congregation to live out their particular calling in new ways, in new places. Each transition is accompanied by a feeling of loss, and the grief that inevitably comes with that … and also each one has been a celebration, as the individuals follow their particular calling wherever it may lead.
Manchester UMC is a congregation that encourages individuals to flourish in their call, to feel a sense of assurance that they are doing what God wants them to be doing, where God wants them to be doing it, and in a way that is fulfilling and gratifying. Sometimes that means finding just the right role for a person within this congregation; sometimes that means finding a role that is just right for a person, but happens to be somewhere else.
As we receive the news of people moving elsewhere to live into their callings (and there have been a bunch here right in a row!), I know we will grieve. There will be a feeling of loss and even sorrow as they move on to the next thing.
And at the same time, I am hopeful that we will truly be able to celebrate our friends seeking fulfillment of their particular calling in an environment in which that calling can flourish. I am hopeful that this congregation would foster a sense of pride in being a community in which individuals are nurtured and encouraged in their discernment, until they are launched into the space in which they can truly flourish.
James 2 warns followers of Jesus about showing “partiality” for one person over another. The point being, our differences do not make some of us “better” than others. We are different from one another; we have our own unique particularities. By God’s grace we each discern our particular gifts that we are able to use to fulfill God’s particular calling, and live into those callings, wherever they may lead us.