Each one of us is to believe that we have a place in the mind of God and in His creation, separate and distinct from every other creature, and that He loves us with a private, personal love. He has assigned to each of us a special mission and service which no one else can do in just the way that God wants us to do it. If we do not believe this, then we do not believe that God is the Infinite One whom the Bible reveals, and we do not believe in our destiny as revealed in Scripture.
The Bible contains numerous passages proving that each person has a special vocation in the providence of God and that if he or she is yielded in obedient faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, that special vocation will be carried out. We are told that "the stars in their courses fought against Sisera," from which we learn that God appoints to every star a special circuit along which it is to move.
Then we read that God appoints every man to his work (see Mark 13:34). And again, that John the Baptist fulfilled his course.
Before Jesus died, He prayed to the Father, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do" (John 17:4). Paul said he wanted to finish his course with joy. We are each one told to "run...the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
The Bible is full of this thought, that for each one of us there is a course, a race, a work, an individual life to be lived. To this end we have been created and redeemed, and for this purpose there is ample provision of grace and inspiration.
Let's look at our personal vocation from God's side. Our relation to God must come first of all.
The reason we are created and the significance of all our labor, trials, difficulties, successes, failures and in fact everything that belongs to us must be looked at first of all in light of our relation to God. It is certain that because He formed us and redeemed us, He must take more interest in us and have a greater regard for us than all other creatures combined. And again, it is evident that God has given us a mission to fill in His own mind that is in proportion to our special makeup and that He foresees for each of us possibilities that we do not see and that our fellow creatures would never suspect.
Most of the lives in the human race are lived in obscurity and never known beyond a circle of a few acquaintances. Of the millions on Earth, only a small percent ever come into public notice or form a part of recorded history.
Of that number most live only for self and sin and amount to almost nothing in the purpose of God, and are total failures, perhaps, on God's side. In fact, it is likely that the number of human beings who are known in public life and to history are just as few in proportion as the number of water-drops that are visible in the sea. Hence it is certain that God has not made all the human souls as a mere parade but that they are made for Him, to love and serve Him, to fill a private mission in His love and will which we do not understand.
Many wonder what God gave them an existence for, as they are so obscure, so helpless, so hedged about. But if such souls could only know enough to abandon themselves to God's will, they would see that they are capable of living unto God and glorifying Him with a private worship and obedience that will satisfy the divine purpose in their creation. And in the end they will find that they filled the sphere of God's plan for them.
If one soul fails to do its part in the purpose of God, He will miss that work from His universe. It is said of a certain musician who was conducting a great orchestra that when one instrument failed to strike one note in the program, the master's keen ear detected the absence of that one note in the performance.
God is so infinite that if one little soul living in obscurity in some hid-away place fails to fill its mission, He will miss that note in the vast orchestra of the universe, which is perpetually sounding forth His praise. It is not any mere action that God would miss so much as the love and confidence of some trusting soul.
The highest mission any creature can fill is to love the Lord with all the soul, mind and will. And this secret mission to which we are called takes rank above all outward action, public history or splendid performance in the eyes of our fellow creatures.
We must also look at our vocation on the man side, or in relation to our fellow creatures. God has arranged countless threads of relationship between each one of us and all other creatures, and so multiplied, so intricate are they as to be beyond all our calculations. In one sense we may say that God is weaving out a vast fabric in human history and that each soul forms a thread or a stitch in the enormous pattern.
God is using us creatures in our life-work to touch thousands of others and influence them, as well as to have thousands of others touch us by word or influence or personal presence. Thus creatures are blended with creatures in a tangled maze of ministry for help or for trial, for joy or for sorrow, for happiness or for disappointment, so that our special mission is related to the special mission of others, in order to make one whole, and yet not interfere with each of us filling our appointed place.
As every creature that walks or crawls on the earth leaves its print in some form or other, so every responsible soul in passing through life leaves an imprint on other souls. But that imprint can only fulfill God's will when such souls are living under the guidance of His Spirit.
In many ways that would not be according to our choice, we need the ministry of our fellow creatures, and God often uses them to wound us or correct us or disappoint us to serve a purpose in our lives. And then again He will use others to encourage or comfort or instruct us, so that could we see our life mission in the clear light of faith, we would receive all things that come into our lives as designed for our good and accept all things as from God to us. It is evident that our life mission must be interwoven with those of our fellow creatures for the benefit of all parties in ways unknown to us.
In the next place, we should seek to discover what our life mission is. There are some who from childhood have a strong intuition as to what their vocation is to be, and this applies to people of the world, as well as to those who are Christians.
But I speak now with reference to the children of God, who are living mainly for life in the future world. And those who live mostly for the future life are the ones who live best in the present life and who best fulfill their vocation in this world.
It is an inspiration to any soul when he has a clear view of his special life-work and an ideal vision of what God wants to accomplish in and by his life. There is a peculiar thrill when we even suspect some special mission God has for us. But when it becomes a settled conviction as to what our work is then our heart runs out in the work, if we are willing and obedient, and everything in our lives from that time on becomes tributary to that one supreme vocation.
In order to do our life-work in the best way, we must have a clear apprehension of it, and then we must love it and put all our heart in it and watch God's dealings with us in relation to it. The most significant things in our lives, such as our dreams, our meditations, our inspirations, the peculiar leadings of God's providence, will come to us right along the line of our special vocation.
Oftentimes other people will be led to speak to us words of special import or encouragement along the line of our life work. For instance, when God designs a child to be a preacher of the gospel, that child will have premonitions of it, and along in his life other persons will speak to him on this matter. And as life goes on the various providences and the various incidents, both in his mind and outer life, will all seem to point in that direction.
This same truth will apply to any other vocation. People who have no definite view as to their life-work are apt to beat the air. They work at random; they run like the man in Scripture, without a message; they waste a great deal of energy in doing nothing.
You may ask, "How shall I find my special vocation?" I answer, "By a life of prayer." Not by simply saying prayers, but by living a life of continued talking with God, by a perfect surrender to Him through Jesus, a perfect willingness to give up your own thoughts, plans, and prejudices and being willing for God to possess you and lead you in the way He chooses for you to go.
You are to believe that God loves you with an eternal love, that God has a place for you and a mission for you to fill. Then, on the basis of His Word, plead with Him to open up to your mind your special mission, whether it be in the private or public forum, and feel sure from the teachings of Scripture that it is God's will to give you such a sufficient insight into your vocation as will satisfy you. With that insight there will come a loving ardor and a tireless zeal to accomplish the task.
Sadly, there are many Christians who miss their true mission in life. Although they may be saved in the end, yet because of lack of perseverance or the influence of other people's opinions, they frustrate the special vocation to which they were called. They have been gifted in many ways and evidently have been called of God for various kinds of service or usefulness or holy character and have been sidetracked, or have given up their work, and thereby frustrated the plan of God.
To be faithful to our calling in life is the greatest thing in all human character. It is not so much the size of our abilities, or the conspicuousness of our life-work, but that hidden, deep, settled obedience to God, that humble faithfulness to His calling day by day, moment by moment, in the place where we are that will tell in the ages to come and mark our rank in the kingdom of God when the crowns are distributed.
George D. Watson (1848-1923) was a holiness evangelist and the author of several books, including Bridehood Saints, from which this excerpt was taken.