Robert Morris — My Career Calling
This is the third part of a three-week series called "Why Am I Here"? and the title of today's message is, "My Career Calling" and most people already know their career and they're in their career. Some of the young people would be like, great, tell me how I can know my career. So, what are you saying? And the Lord began to show me that what He was referring to when He gave me this word was our life calling, our specific purpose for being on earth. In other words, why am I here? Not just why are we here, why am I here? For my whole life, what does God have for me? Yes, to be a believer and serve. Yes, we have gifts, and we have some sort of ministry God has given us, but what's my life purpose, and that's really what began to happen.
So, before I tell you what your purpose is, I have three points again, but I want to tell you two things that your purpose is not. That's very important to understand. So, here's number one: Your purpose is not your position. Your purpose is not your position. Another way to say that is your identity is not your position no matter what your position is. All right. 1 Samuel 16 if you're there. Let me show you. This is where Samuel comes to anoint David as king. All right? 1 Samuel 16:10 says, "Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these". And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here"? Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep". And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him. For we will not sit down until he comes here".
So, he sent and brought him in. "Now he was ruddy," the word ruddy means red. Some say David had red hair. Some refer to that he probably had red skin because of being a shepherd and being outside so much, but that's what the word ruddy means. It just means red. "Now he was ruddy with bright eyes, and good-looking". I related to David a lot. I'm just joking. "And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one"! So, if you were a young person, and you were wondering what your career was going to be, how cool would it be for the prophet of God, the prophet of God at that time, to show up and tell you what your career was. That's pretty cool, isn't it, and he got a pretty cool career too. You know?
He said, okay, let's see. Your career. You're going to get to be the boss of everyone. Now, you don't want to admit it, but several of you would like to be the boss of everyone. You're going to be the boss of everyone. Now, again, these words aren't in the text. I'm just kind of surmising this because I want to make a point from this. You know, you're going to get to be the king. You're going to be rich. You're going to have servants, and you're going to live in a castle, but I wonder what would have happened if Samuel while he was turning leave made this statement, "and people are going to try to kill you for the rest of your life". Then David might have said, "Well, wait, wait, wait. What did you say"? "I said you were going to get to be the king". "Yeah, after that". "Rich, servants, and the castle". "Yeah, after that. The part about people trying to kill me for the rest of my life".
See, Samuel didn't tell him that. When God gave Joseph the dream of his brothers bowing down, God conveniently left out the part about slavery and prison. So, you say, well, why are you telling me that? Because I'm telling you that you're going to go through seasons, and some of them you won't like. Even David, when we talk about a career, he had several different jobs before he was king. He was a shepherd. He was a musician. He actually became a musician for Saul. He was in the military, and then he became king, but he went through seasons.
So, no matter what your life calling is, there are seasons. Let me give you an example. Let's say that your life calling, one of the primary purposes you're on this earth is to be a mom which is a huge high calling, and when you think about how generations get more evil from generation to generation, we need more Godly moms and dads. So, it's a high calling. So, let's just say that's a calling you feel like this is the life purpose for me. Well, you're going to go through seasons. You're going to have the season of young children, and this season will pass, but you're in a season now.
So, you'll have young children. You'll have a time when they start school; a season. You'll have a season when they become teenagers, God help you. You'll have a season where they go to college. You'll have a season where you're helping them finding a mate and praying about that. You'll have a season where they get married and leave home. You'll have a season where they have young children. You'll have a season where your children have teenagers, God help them. I'm sorry. Any time I say the word teenager, God help just kind of comes out. But you'll go through seasons. Okay?
So, the first thing I need you to know is your purpose is not your position at the time. Let me say it another way. If you don't like your boss right now and you don't like your job, it will pass. It's just a season, and you need to ask God what He's trying to teach you because if you don't learn it with this boss, you'll get one even worse. So, there are seasons. David was the king, but he went through seasons. All right?
So, here's number two. Your purpose is not your provision. Your purpose is not your provision. Now, as we know our purpose from a career, so a lot of times your purpose lines up with your career. Sometimes it doesn't, but sometimes it does, but you need to know your job is not your provision. God is your provision, and I don't just mean your financial provision. I mean, God provides everything we need. He'll provide the right spouse. If we'll wait. He'll provide the right house at the right time. He provides the right job, but we have to know that God is our provider.
Now, 2 Samuel 15, if you have your Bible open there, 2 Samuel 15, let me show you a season in David's life after he's king. He had a son named Absalom, and look at Verse 1, 2 Samuel 15:1, "After this, it happened that Absalom provided himself". Now, it just happens that God led me to this passage, and here is the word provided. He provided himself. God didn't provide it for him, "with chariots and horses and 50 men to run before him". Now, Absalom would rise early and stand besides the way to the gate so it was whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision that Absalom would call to him and say what city are you from? And he would say your servant is from such-and-such a tribe of Israel.
Then, Absalom would say to him, look, your case is good and right, but there's no deputy of the king to hear you. Moreover, Absalom would say, oh, that I were made a judge in the land and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me, and then I would give him justice. And so it was whenever anyone came near to bow down to him that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In his manner, Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgement, so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
So, David's got a coup on his hands. It's happening, and Absalom, by the way, did this for many, many years, it says. Absalom was trying to provide a position and a purpose for himself instead of letting God provide his position and his purpose. By the way, if you have to manipulate to get it, you'll have to manipulate to keep it, but if God gives it to you, no one can take it away from you. It's a whole lot better to let God raise up one and put down another. Asaph, the chief musician, wrote promotion doesn't come from the east or the west. It comes from the Lord, and he was the chief musician under David, so I'm sure he learned that from David. Listen, God is the one who promotes.
So, Absalom creates this coup, goes to Hebron and declares himself king and after this, David, he leaves the city. Now, you've got to remember, this is a great warrior, but he's trusting God as his provision. So, he leaves the city. Now, while he's leaving the city, there's a famous story that a lot of people know. Shimei, this guy named Shimei, throws rocks at David and curses him, and Abishai who is Joab's brother, one of David's mighty men. Today, we'd say David's tough dudes, one of David's tough dudes said who is this dead dog to curse the king, and then he says let me go over and take his head off. Now, you can read it. Let me go take his head off, and that's what he said, and here's the thing that hopefully you know this. He could have done it. Abishai could have done it, and David said, no, maybe God sent him. We'll just trust the Lord.
Okay, a lot of people know that story. I even said to my wife when I was talking about this, Debbie, I said do you remember what happened when David was leaving, and she said that guy cursed him and threw rocks at him. I said, yeah, but do you know what happened with the Ark of the Covenant? She said, no, I don't. I never even heard of that at all. Now, you've got to remember that the Ark of the Covenant was where God dwelled. It wasn't representative of the presence of God. It is where God dwelled. It says He dwelled between the wings of the wings of the cherubim. When you have the Ark of the Covenant in your camp, you won. When you didn't, you didn't. So, you would think if someone is coming after you to kill you, you'd take the Ark with you, right?
By the way, this is the Ark that Indiana Jones discovered in 1981. There's a movie about it. So, let me show you, though, how David knew God was his provision. This is absolutely phenomenal to me. 2 Samuel 15:25-26, "Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if he says, 'Thus, I have no delight in him, then here I am. If I have no delight in you, then here I am; let him do to me whatever seems good to him".
That's amazing to me. I would take the Ark with me, and when Absalom came, I'd be standing right beside it, but he said, listen, God is in control. The Ark needs to stay with the people. The presence of God needs to stay with the people, and if God wants to bring me back as the people's leader, God will take care of me. He's big enough. So, this is God is in control. You see?
Debbie and I have talked about this, and she has gotten through. She has won the battle in this area, but she's had some tough times because all of our children, all the guys, work at the church; two sons and a son-in-law, and I consider Ethan my son, part of our family now, but they never planned to work at the church. Josh got a degree in film and never planned to go into the ministry. He's one of our pastors now. James studied business and went into business, and then he's in our stewardship department, and Ethan got a degree in accounting and used to work at Ernst and Young, and now he's our young adults' pastor.
There are times when they'll be a little frustrated about something and Debbie will hear it from the girls, and she'll say to me, did you know what so-and-so is going through, and I say, yeah, I know. She'll say, well, you're the boss, and I've had to say to her, but Debbie, I don't do that. I have 680 employees, and I set the system up this way. No one else set it up. I'm the one that started it in my house. I set it up where I don't set my kids' positions or salaries and let me tell you two reasons why I did that, and here's the second one. This isn't the first one. The second one is I trust the team. I really do trust the people around me, but the first one is I trust God. God is big enough.
If there is a boss that's mistreating one of my kids, God is big enough. He's big enough to take care of it. You need to know something. No one can thwart your destiny but you. No boss, no company, no person. Actually, there's only one person that can mess up your destiny, and that's you, but no one else can. David understood that his purpose was not his provision. God was his provision.
And here's number three; your purpose is your pursuit. This is what it is. It's what you pursue. Now obviously, we pursue God. What we pursue serving God, we pursue loving God. We pursue what God's call is on our lives. Here's a great Scripture, Acts 13:36, "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation fell asleep and was laid with his fathers". He served the purpose of God for his generation, but there was a time, we're all familiar with it, when David messed up. Let me tell you why he messed up. He quit pursuing his purpose, the purpose of God that was on his life.
Let me read it to you, 2 Samuel 11:1-2, "It happened in the spring of the year at the time when kings," David is the king, "go out to battle that David sent," notice he didn't go, "Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the people of Amman and besieged Rabbah, but David remained at Jerusalem, and then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house and from the roof, he saw a woman bathing and that woman was very beautiful to behold". If David had been pursuing the purpose of God on his life, he never would have even seen that Bathsheba.
Here's the reason I think that we stop pursuing the purpose of God. It's because we go through seasons, and we accomplish something, and we don't go back to God then for what the next season is for our life. Let me use a term that a lot of people use. We call it mid-life crisis. It's like, well, I've done all this. I really don't know what else I'm supposed to do, and I'm not getting any meaning. So, you've got to understand. You don't get meaning out of your career. You get meaning out of your relationship with God, and you go through a mid-life crisis. Actually, what you're going through is a change in season. You need to go back and ask God, God what's next for me? What do you have for me?
I feel like, personally, I've been through two mid-life crises. I feel like you go through more than one. The first one was a few years before I planted Gateway Church. I was an associate pastor at Shady Grove Church which is our Grand Prairie campus, and I started getting bored. It was the change of a season, but I just felt like I can't accomplish anymore where I am in this position, and I don't know what God has for me next, and so Pastor Olan, he's a great pastor. He's one of our apostolic elders now. Pastor Olan was meeting with all the elders and saying where do you want to be in five years and what is God saying to you?
And so he was asking the spouses as well, and so, he said to Debbie, he asked Debbie, and she said something, and she had not told me this, and I remember afterwards, I said why did you not tell me that? She said, I didn't know it. I didn't know it until it just came out, but he asked her about my future, and she said, I'm concerned, I'm very concerned. And he said, why are you concerned? And she said because Robert for the first time since he's been saved has lost his passion for ministry. He's always been passionate about ministering the people always, but because he doesn't feel challenged right now, he's lost his passion for ministry, and then she said this, and I'm afraid because he's lost his passion for ministry and I've never seen this, I'm afraid that next he'll lose his passion for the Lord, and then he'll lose his passion for me.
It was a wake-up call for me, and we went home that night, and we stayed up most of the night talking, and I said I'm so sorry. I'm not going to do that. So, here's what I did. I began to pursue my purpose in prayer. I wasn't trying to get an advancement or trying to figure out a promotion or if I should plant a church or go be a senior pastor. I just began to pursue it in prayer, and that's when God, after that, about a year later, spoke to me about Gateway Church, but something had changed in my heart because God called me back to my purpose, and let me tell you what my purpose is so maybe it will help you. My purpose is to help people develop an intimate relationship with God. That's my life purpose; to help people develop an intimate relationship with God, and I know that, and that's what excites me. That thrills me. I mean, more than anything.
I'll tell you about a conversation I had sitting on the beach with a couple beside us when we were on vacation, and it wasn't work for me. I was helping them develop an intimate relationship with God, and I told you I feel like I've gone through two mid-life crises. I feel like I've gone through another one in the last couple of years because I began to say God, what's next, what's next for me? Because I know you put in my heart to build, obviously, God builds His church but to use me to build a large apostolic influential church in the world, and I've done that, and you've put it in my heart to preach the word through television and to really reach out, and our television ministry has become very successful and is doing great, and you put it in my heart to write best-selling books. That was specifically my prayer because if you write a book and only three people read it, you haven't helped a lot.
So, you know, your wife and your kids read it, okay, great, but I wasn't doing it for financial reasons, but for books and most of you know because my best-selling book, I've given all the royalties away to, and that is in the millions of dollars. So, it was, Lord, what now? Those were like three goals I had; to build a church, Gateway, to where it would really be an influential church in the world, and the television ministry, and then books. And so, I've been asking the Lord for a couple of years what do you want me to do, what do you want me to do?
And this sabbatical answered me. You know what he said to me? He said, son, you've confused goals with purpose, and yes, you've reached some goals, but your purpose is the same, and now you need to ask me what the next goals are, and He gave me three goals on sabbatical, and I'll just list them out to you, but preaching, number one is preaching and teaching God's word. I love to preach and teach God's word. Two, inspiring pastors and leaders. That floats my boat or downloads my app. I don't know how you want to say it for your generation. Inspiring pastors and leaders. I love to do that. And three, mentoring the next generation. These three goals get me excited for the next ten or 15 years, whatever it is. I've got to do this.
Now, here's what I want to tell you. I wrote these down. I have these written down. I heard from the Lord. I'm excited. I'm passionate, but I can't write your purpose down for you, and I can't tell you what it is. Habbakuk 2:2, he says write the vision and make it plain, but Verse 1, he talks about, so I set myself apart, and I spent time with God. Okay, I can't do that for you, but before God ever gave him the vision to write, he had to spend time with God. So, I want you to know something. God has a specific answer to the question why am I here, God? He has a specific answer, but He's the only one who can give it to you.
I'm really praying for you that you will discover why you are here, why specifically you're here. What is your calling? What has God called you to do that if you don't do it, it's not going to get done, and this has been the last in a series of messages where we've talked about why am I here and God's specific calling on our lives, and maybe this is the only one you've heard. I would encourage you to get the whole set. Get the whole series and let God speak to you, but just like I said in this message, maybe you should take some time and just sit down and write what do I like to do, what do I want to do. You'll be surprised because, you see, God is the one who gives us those desires. You know, there's a Scripture that I think a lot of people misunderstand. It says delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Somehow, we think that means if we delight in the Lord, God will give us what we want, but I want to say it another way, delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you or He will put desires in your heart. He'll give you the desires of your heart. When you delight in the Lord, you'll find yourself desiring to help people in some way, and that could be your purpose, your life calling. God has something specific for you. I promise you, and God wants to show you what that is and let you live out a fantastic life of building His kingdom on this earth.