As Christians we often feel pressure to identify with a calling or mission in life. Some of the commonly recognized callings are pastors, missionaries and worship leaders. In the post “What To Do When You Don’t Fit In” I detailed some of the issues that I have had with finding my place in the pre-approved Christian “callings” list. Once I was able to get out from under the expectations of others, I felt that God gave me a very specific and clear mission, or “calling”. I am to wake up sleeping giants.
Who is a sleeping giant? A sleeping giant is a faithful pastor, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, usher, regular church attendee, or a not so regular church attendee. They are God fearing people who find themselves going through the motions of Christianity, but living a life that is virtually the same as a non-Christian (see post “God is Completely Logical”). Awakening happens when you are arrested by the revelation that your current Christian life falls well short of the “greater things” that Jesus told his followers to expect. A sleeping giant does not awaken to join the currently popular “I am dissatisfied with organized religion” group. They are dissatisfied with their own personal level of relationship and, as a result, begin to look critically at the establishment that facilitated their relationship. This is where they get confused with the anti-organized religion group. Their self-reflection often reveals an area where they have bought into a false “truth” that was unwittingly propagated by their religion. (see post “The Day We Got a Divorce”). For example, in the religion I grew up in reading Hebrews 4:13 resulted in fear or dread, because God saw the bad things you were doing/thinking this week. Their fire and brimstone approach was unwittingly propagating dread, instead of hope. The fact that God’s eyes see everything should inspire hope, not condemnation. God does not use condemnation to facilitate obedience, that is the devil’s tactic.
“Anytime an apparent scriptural truth creates a fear of punishment for a Christian, instead of hope, then our interpretation is most likely based on a religious tradition and not God’s heart”
Once a sleeping giant is awake, the next challenge is to embrace their calling or mission. This is often not very comfortable. For example, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was confronted with his mission (death on the cross) and he struggled with accepting it. His closest friends also struggled with it. When Jesus was sharing his calling with his followers, Peter pulled Jesus aside to scold him and Jesus had some very harsh words for Peter. I am sure Peter had good intentions, but his motive was to ensure Jesus’ safety and comfort, not to ensure his mission was accomplished. Embracing your mission will stretch you and those closest to you.
If you are reading this and see yourself in the definition of a sleeping giant, I want to encourage you to put the effort in and become fully awake. Yes, it will be personally challenging to embrace your mission and yes, those closest to you may try to talk you out of it, in order to spare you the hardship of completing your mission, but you can do it. “Nevertheless, not my will but yours…“