Peter, Paul, Philip, Stephen, Priscilla, Aquila, Lydia, Timothy. The early church leaders. A diverse range of men and women who came from different economic backgrounds, different nationalities, different age groups, different gifts. God chose, equipped, and anointed them all, along with many others whose names we don’t know.
They achieved so much in those early years. The audacious scope of the missionary journeys. The new frontiers. The churches planted. Centers of mission birthed in vibrant cities. The extraordinary miracles.
Their stories inspire me. And their stories challenge me.
For these leaders, their call was to serve God’s purposes in their day. Paul was an up-and coming-high-flying religious leader when Jesus turned his world upside down and set him on a path marked by kingdom breakthrough, but also stress, struggle and suffering. For Paul and his contemporaries on The Way, their lives were not their own. There have been times in my life when it’s been a wonderful encouragement to reflect on my passions, discover my gifts, and respond to a sense of personal calling. However, in this moment, I look at these leaders and their example refines my notion of calling. I’m reminded that in every season of life, it’s His vision for my life that matters. My gifts don’t entitle me to any position, role, or opportunity; my dreams and vision aren’t my rights. My call is obedience.
When I think of those men and women, I also consider their capacity.