Finding Your Calling
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1. Opening up

  • Review: Last week we summarized the whole message of the Gospel. We saw that Jesus came to accomplish the Great Exchange: that through God’s grace and mercy, Jesus took our sin on himself and gave us his perfect, righteous life. By turning from ourselves and our sin, and turning to Jesus in love and faith, we are brought into God’s family. We are loved and forgiven. Remember that the Gospel is not “do,” it is “done.” Jesus’s work for you is done, which is why he could say on the cross, “It is finished.” Because he did all the work, all you need to do to be in God’s family is to love and trust Jesus with real faith.
  • Today: This week we want to ask the question: “Now what?” In other words, “If God has saved me, now what do I do with my life?”
  • Pray: Ask the Holy Spirit to open your hearts and guide your time.

Transition: Let’s look at a few passages to find out what God wants us to do with our lives.

2. Calling: our whole lives for God

  • Question: What is God’s purpose for you? What do you think he wants you to do with your life?
    • Parents: feel free to share how you found answers to these questions, as you grew up. This discussion can naturally focus on future jobs and occupations, but the ultimate aim of this lesson is to point to our primary calling as followers of Jesus.
  • Calling: the best way to think about God’s purpose for your life is to think about the word “calling.” Sometimes people refer to their job as a “vocation.” The word vocation comes from a Latin word that means “to call.” The Bible talks a lot about our call. Let’s look up and read these verses: Romans 8:30, 1 Corinthians 1:9.
    • The gospel message is God’s call to you, to come to him. If you have put your faith in Jesus then you are “called by God.”
      • Here’s how a writer named Os Guiness puts it: “First and foremost we are called to Someone (God), not to something…”[1]
      • So don’t miss this: when you think about your purpose in life the very first and most important thing is that God calls you to himself.
  • Your Whole Life: What does it mean for God to call you to himself? Let’s read one more verse to find out: Romans 12:1.
    • Ask: What does this verse say we are supposed to present to God?
      • Answer: our bodies. That means our whole lives. God calls us to give our whole lives to him – everything about us, every part of us.
    • Followers: It’s interesting that the first people to respond to the gospel message were NOT called “Christians.” Do you know what they were called? “Followers of the Way.” They were followers of Jesus. And that’s a good way to think about yourself. If you’ve put your trust in him, then you are a follower. He’s called you to follow him, so that first and foremost you are coming to him with your whole life.
    • Here’s the point: your first purpose in life is to come to God with your whole life.
      • This is how some well-known followers of Jesus put it, many years ago: They asked: What is the chief end of man? Answer: To glorify God and to enjoy him forever.[2][1] Os Guiness, The Call, 31.
        [2] Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1.

Transition: Now, how do you follow Jesus with your whole life?

3. Love God and Neighbor

  • God first calls us to himself, to know him and enjoy him. Then he calls us to live for him. Here’s how Jesus put it…
  • Read Mark 12:28-31.
    • What are we called to do first? Love God with our whole lives. That’s what we just talked about above.
    • What are we called to do after that? Love our neighbor as ourselves.
      • Who is your neighbor?
      • Parents: if your kids struggle to answer “everyone,” then take them to the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25ff).
    • This is your calling. This is the purpose for your life. This is what God wants you to do with your whole life. You might think it’s simple, but followers of Jesus forget it all the time!
      • ASK: Put it in your own words: what is your purpose?
        • Love God and love neighbor!

Transition: Now let’s finish by thinking about loving our neighbors…

4. Loving neighbors by making disciples

  • ASK: What are some ways you can love your neighbor?
    • Parents: brainstorm with your kids. You want to first think of really practical ways to love people: service, care, talking to someone, showing an interest in them, and also providing food and basic needs. Think about the Good Samaritan – what did he do to help his neighbor?
    • This is a really important point: we love people by caring for them and about them. We love them with our actions.
  • Make disciples. In addition to the command to love our neighbors, Jesus gave his people very clear instructions on how to love them. We love them with our words and actions, and then we love them by making disciples. Let’s read exactly what he said.
    • Read Matthew 28:18-20. The main thing Jesus tells his people here is to “Go and make disciples.” We’ve just said that there are many ways to love people. And Jesus shows us here that in an addition to those things, there’s an ultimate way to love others: by leading them to him. Disciples are made for the first time when they understand the gospel message and choose to put their trust in Jesus. Then, disciples continue to grow.
      • ASK: what are some ways that we could “make disciples”?
      • Parents: brainstorm together. Ultimately, here are the points you want to make:
        • Pray for the people around you. We can pray for those who don’t know Jesus, to trust Him. We can pray for followers of Jesus to grow as disciples by loving God more and loving their neighbors better.
        • Love God with your whole life. When we really love something or someone, other people will notice.
        • Invite others to read the story of Jesus in Mark, for instance. You can invite someone into the same study of Mark that you just did.
        • Share about how God is working in you. When you share about how God forgives you, or comforts you in sadness, or changes things in your heart, other people will take notice. When we talk about our struggles instead of boasting about our strengths, people can see how great Jesus is instead of how great we think we are.
        • Point other followers to Jesus. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can help other Christians follow Jesus. You can do this by talking together about him, praying to him together, or loving your neighbors together.
      • APPLY: who are a few people that you could influence in these ways?
  • Your future job. We started this discussion by talking about God’s purpose for your Hopefully by now you’ve seen that your future job or vocation is only one part of that discussion. If you see that you are first called to God, and then called to live fully for him by loving others, you don’t have to wait around for your calling; you realize that you are called right now, right where you are! This is true for every follower of Jesus, which means that all of us are part of God’s mission and his work, no matter what our exact “job” is. Discovering your future occupation is important, but you don’t need to stress about it. Jesus wants you to follow him, right now, right where you are.

Transition: now let’s summarize our calling.

5. The BIG Picture GOAL: If you’ve put your trust in Jesus, then you are a disciple, a follower. As a follower of Jesus, you are first called to love God with your whole life. Then, you are called to love your neighbor as yourself. We love our neighbors by caring about them and for them, and by helping them become disciples.

  • Next time, we’ll think about where God wants you to live out this calling.

6. For next time…

  • Pray: Each day ask God to open a door for you to love other people around you, with God’s word and with your actions.
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