Steven Furtick - I Don't Know My Calling
This is an excerpt from: I'm Confused About My Calling
You are forgiven if when I say calling, you roll your eyes a little bit. It is one of these terms that is so popular in culture that it almost means nothing anymore, and it can be frustrating the older you get when people talk about lofty ideals like finding your calling. You need to find your calling. You know, well, for most of us, that's way outside of the realm of our everyday life. We're trying to pay bills. It's like, you know, you need to find your calling. And you're like, "Well, I'm doing good to find my keys in the morning and you wanna talk about finding your calling".
And as much as I understand that I also understand that there's a reason that the majority of questions that I have been asked as a pastor in these 13 years, going on 14 years, the reason for it is that there is something inside of you that wants to find the thing that you were made to do. And you will never be satisfied with anything else. And no matter how much sex you have, money you make, friends you meet, no matter how big the house is that you built, no matter how many cars you park in the driveway, there will always be something unsatisfied in you until you find that thing that we call a calling.
And yet, so much damage has been done in popular culture by the concept of calling that it actually makes us discontent with our lives because rather than understand the real nature of a calling, we have a concept of a calling and often we spend our lives wishing that we were doing something that God did not tell us to do. The Bible says in Verse 1 that in those days, while Samuel, the 12-year-old, who was apprenticing in the tabernacle, because his mother, Hannah, prayed that she could have a son and she had trouble conceiving and when she finally had the son, she dedicated him to the Lord and she dropped him off at age four and only saw him once a year and she put him under Eli who wasn't doing a very good job.
He was letting his sons run around in the tabernacle and have sex with women at the entrance to the tabernacle and he knew about it, but he wouldn't do anything about it. And he was letting his sons beat people up who had brought their sacrifice to the temple. And they brought their sacrifice to God, but the priests took it for themselves, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons, would send their messenger out to the tent and say, "Hey, Hophni said you gotta give him the fat portion". And the people who came would be like, "Well, that's for the Lord. They can get the portion after it burns off. That's the priest's portion". But they had gotten confused about what it meant to honor God and they'd started honoring themselves and their opinions and their desires. And they started treating God as common.
And so the Bible says something interesting in Verse 1. It says, "In those days, with all of that going on, the word of the Lord was rare". Because they treated the Lord as common, the word of the Lord was rare. Because we live in a day where it is so easy to get information, but so difficult to get truth, I figured this verse would apply to us. Would you agree with me that we are drowning in information, drowning in opinion, drowning in agenda, drowning in projections, but starving for truth? You know I'm right about it. It's such a crazy time, you don't know who to trust anymore. You don't know if it's real. You don't know if it's fake. You don't know if it's inflated. You don't know if it's a statistic.
And, let me give you a statistic, 83% of statistics are made up. That's a statistic. I made it up. It's a time where truth is hard to find. And it doesn't mean that there wasn't access to the Bible. God knows we have access to the word of God. You can pull out your phone right now and a British person will read you the Bible on the Bible app. That made me think of something real funny. One time Graham asked me, "Do British people find American accents soothing"? Probably not. But here's the thing about it, it's not accessed to the word of God, it's our attitude to the word of God. It's our attitude.
It's why some people can come into church and look narcoleptic in church. It's why some people can come into church and leave during the invitation 'cause God forbid it takes you seven minutes to get to Cracker Barrel. It's why some people can click around to different sermons and be like, "Ah, yeah, I don't know. Furtick's not on today. I'm gonna go over here to this one and that one and that's..." See, when the word of God becomes common to us, we will have access to the word of God, but it will not have impact on our life.
And so the first thing I wanted to mention is the culture. The culture in Eli's time was a culture of neglect, a culture where the value of who God was and what He said was negotiable therefore there was an absence of that special presence of God. The word of the Lord was rare because the Lord of the word had become common. And I just wanna say to you today that many of our cultural concepts of calling are really just self-help, individualistic, ambition-oriented delusions dressed up in Christian clichés. And because you got a trophy when you were seven, does not mean you get to play major league baseball.
And the culture of our day is kinda like instead of worshipping God, we worship our idea of God's will. And rather than being in relationship with God, we want God to be a resource who is more like Siri than He is like a Savior. I don't know if you'll come back next week the way I'm starting this sermon, but we need to get something straight right off the bat. That until I treasure the voice of God, value the voice of God, harken to the voice of God, make time for the voice of God, consecrate myself, I can't get it by skimming, I can't get it by just, you know, running around to this person and that person. It is the revealed will of God that we're after. It is the revealed will of God.
Now, when I was in my 20s, I did all of this teaching and preaching and now, you know, now that I'm wiser, I turn 40 next year... Y'all better start working on my gift now 'cause it's a big one. It's kinda cringy for me to look back on the way I spoke about calling in my 20s that probably left people feeling at the very least confused, at worse frustrated and maybe even full of resentment because the way it happened in my life is different for all of us. Here's Samuel who is receiving a revelation of God.
And in my life, I never heard anything audible that God said to me. You know, the Lord never said, "Furtick, Steve". Will God call you by your last name or first? I don't know. But He never said, you know, preach to me out loud. There were desires. There were opportunities. I noticed some effectiveness. It's the weirdest thing. When I first got up to pray for Pastor Mickey who asked me to pray at a Lion's Club meeting, I noticed that people seemed to be blessed as I prayed and they connected.
And it took Pastor Mickey to explain to me that that was the hand of God on my life. I didn't know that. If he hadn't been there to guide me, I would've maybe thought I was just a charismatic speaker. But he helped me to see that there was something supernatural involved and I was 16 years old and I had someone who had been around long enough to see some things to tell me it was special. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known it.
Now, here's what I did with that knowledge. I preached in my 20s. That just like God called me to preach, God has called each Christian to do something. You agree with that? But here's the part that I think was incomplete while I'd be up there saying to people you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling...
'Cause see, it gets annoying after awhile. Right? It's like I'm just trying to, like, I need a job, man. I don't know about a calling. I just need a raise right now. Is that it makes it sound as if it's something that you can just get and just know. And yet, did you notice in the passage that even Samuel, who was the link between the period of the judges and the monarchy of Israel, a thousand years before Jesus, that even Samuel, who none of His words fell to the ground, even Samuel didn't get it right the first time.
I don't know why, but that encourages me. Just reading this little story to know that there's someone that God used to do something great and He called him and He chose him, but even this great prophet didn't get it right the first time. I wanna set you free today from the feeling that you have to find your calling. That's a cultural concept, it's not a biblical one. You don't have to find your calling. In fact, if the text is correct, if Samuel is an illustration, then I don't have to find my calling because if I will serve the purpose of the season that I'm in in my life right now, watch this, get ready to shout: my calling will find me.