You Missed Your Calling

August 8, 2021

This picture isn’t about Joe’s calling. It’s just too handsome not to share! (Photo credit: Sarah Liberty)

Ronda to Joe: “Babe, you missed your calling.” {Spoken with true sincerity}

Joe to Ronda: “Babe, you missed your calling.” {Spoken like a true smarty pants}

Joe and I both had pretty clear callings in life. I was called to be a teacher. I love everything about school–the smell of books and glue sticks, the sight of freshly waxed floors…I even love the craziness of teenagers. It seems that I am forever seeking one degree or another, taking a class, reading an article, etc. I would express my enthusiasm for school and Joe would shake his head and reply, “You are a sick woman.” He did not share my love for it. Not one bit. Nevertheless, education is my calling, without a doubt.

Joe’s callings were equally distinct. He was called to be a funeral director. Just this week someone shared their experience working with Joe during the loss of a loved one, and commented on his kindness, compassion and ability to make the process as easy on the family as possible. It was this same demeanor that served him well as the owner of Southern Monument. Walking people through the various processes of grief and loss was Joe’s calling for sure.

Another calling of Joe’s was one of the culinary variety. Everything he prepared was deliciously perfect, and he could prepare just about anything. When Joe outdid himself in the kitchen (which was often), I’d close my eyes and say (with complete sincerity), “Babe, you missed your calling.”

However, this was not a shared calling between us. Therefore, my most earnest culinary intentions frequently resulted in something burnt (or at least blackened) or inedible. I tried! I really tried! But I tend to cook like I do most everything else–full speed ahead, high heat, in a hurry, doing ten other things at the time…so when he closed his eyes and murmured, “Babe, you missed your calling.”….he meant we would undoubtedly be calling to order takeout that night! Poor Joe! Poor, hungry Joe! 🙂

This week, Joe’s lesson is about God’s purpose for each of us, and how we should respond to His call.

He wrote:

Our Purpose

God has a purpose for each of us. More importantly, we each have a calling to participate in the ministry of Jesus.  

Jeremiah 1:4-10 recounts the calling of Jeremiah to be a prophet: 

“The word of the Lord came to me, saying,“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.

When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, He assured him that he was born to do this.  Whatever it is that God has called you to do, you were born for that very purpose.  So do not worry—God will make sure that you have everything you need to fulfill your purpose.  

Sometimes it is easy to lose focus by dwelling on our shortcomings.  Instead of dwelling on the self part, I think we should instead shift our focus to the One who created us. He has no shortcomings and will empower us to work beyond our own.

In the last verses, we see that God was reassuring Jeremiah after he became nervous.  God reminded him that his age and experience did not matter.  God promised Jeremiah that He would equip him with whatever he needed to fulfill His purpose. 

God is giving Jeremiah his commission to be a prophet to the nations and to stand up to those who were not yielding to God’s will.  But, God waited until He knew Jeremiah was ready to fulfill the calling.  God knew Jeremiah was ready, even if Jeremiah didn’t realize it himself.  

We often tend to rely on what we can see. It is difficult to see outside of our own comfort zone, especially when we are guided by fear.  Even more difficult for us is taking a risk. Yet, sometimes risk is necessary, especially in serving the Lord.  

So, this week, I encourage you to think about God’s calling in your own life. If your feet feel unsteady, remember that you were created on purpose to fulfill God’s purpose, and He will equip you for the journey.

-JMP

Joe could pray a prettier prayer than anyone I knew. He had a servant’s heart, an amazing command of Biblical knowledge and the ability to translate what he read into layman’s terms. He loved the Lord and he loved on people.

I always believed that Joe was also called to be a preacher. I shared this with Joe. He laughed. Yet, I could see the wheels turning inside his sweet, precious head. He entertained the thought, but always dismissed it.

Joe never could see what I saw. All he could see were his own shortcomings, much like Jeremiah.

Still, when I prayed over our marriage, I always asked that the Lord would be glorified in us and through us, and that we be used according to His purpose. And, to some degree, I felt we were doing just that. Joe served as Sunday School Superintendent. I taught a Sunday School Class. We sang in church, we organized and produced the Grand New Opry Benefit, etc. If our purpose was to serve the Lord in this way, I believed we had accepted His call.

Then Joe passed away.

I had a really difficult time with the concept of my purpose in general, much less my purpose as it related to the ministry of Jesus. There was no song in my heart anymore. Without Joe, there was no Grand New Opry. Without Joe, there was no Sunday School Superintendent. Without Joe, I just didn’t see much purpose at all.

But God…

We often tend to rely on what we can see. It is difficult to see outside of our own comfort zone, especially when we are guided by fear.  It was on Christmas Eve, just 19 days after Joe went to Heaven, that his black leather notebook full of sermons literally fell into my lap. I was in our home office attempting to wrap presents, but ended up just wandering around the room looking at Joe’s collection of various things. All I could see was what had been lost.

Yet, even in that very moment, God was bringing to light another calling for Joe and for me. I was being equipped with what I thought (at that time) was just a comfort, but was actually the gift of ministry contained within the pages of an old leather notebook. What I could see was small, but what God was orchestrating was much larger.

I started writing the blog on a Sunday afternoon, simply because I had to find a way to fill the hours that were most difficult for me to face. And although I felt led to share it, I was terrified. What if people thought I was crazy? Neither Joe nor myself had any real theological training…did anyone really care to read his lessons and my own personal musings?

Even more difficult for us is taking a risk. Yet, sometimes risk is necessary, especially in serving the Lord.  I published the first entry in The Book of Joe. I am not really sure that I saw it as serving the Lord at that time, but I certainly saw it as taking a risk. A few people asked about the other sermons in the book. So, the following Sunday, I published another.

And that’s how I have spent each Sunday for the past eight months. Writing. Grieving. Healing.

Finally, I am beginning to see some purpose. Joe’s purpose. Maybe even my own.

Joe never did listen to me much, but I sure did call it when I said he was bound to be a preacher! 😂. He might say the blog doesn’t count, but I think it does. I think this format is part of Joe’s fulfillment of God’s purpose. I doubt if Jesus reads my blog, but just in case…Jesus, if you’re reading this, would you just nudge him a little and tell him I said, “TOLD YA!!”

Just as God promised Jeremiah that he would equip him, God equipped Joe to share the truths found in His Word. Joe thought he was simply writing a five minute lesson, yet he was writing so much more. But, God waited until He knew Jeremiah was ready to fulfill the calling. God knew Jeremiah was ready, even if Jeremiah didn’t realize it himself. God knew Joe was ready, even when Joe did not. And who, but GOD could further someone’s calling after death?

As for me, I think maybe part of my purpose is to simply be the vessel through which God’s word is shared in The Book of Joe. Maybe part of my purpose is to bring hope to another grieving soul, to be the reminder that Jesus walked with me through the darkest days of the darkest journey, and that even now, He guides me daily toward the light. And if He will do it for me, oh friend…He will do it for you.

What I know with all my heart is that my purpose was determined by God before I was born. How incredible is that to ponder?!? So, as I prayed over my marriage to Joe, that purpose was being fulfilled in ways I could not see. And now, as I pray over this life without Joe, I know that God’s greater purpose is being created in me and through me, and that His plans for me are good.

Sweet friend, His plans for you are good as well. You have been called. You have a purpose. Even when that purpose seems small, even when you don’t understand, or you don’t think you can…look at Joe and me and KNOW this: You haven’t missed your calling. You can glorify God and His purpose in good times and in bad, in times of grief, in times of hurt, in times of hope. You may not think you are ready, but you are. Don’t you think for one minute that God is finished with you. Sometimes what looks like the end is just the beginning. Your tears may fall into the dust today. But the dust and teardrops turn to clay. And clay is something beautiful waiting to happen. Trust me on that one. I know the Potter.

So, I guess Joe, in his sweet way, even now is fulfilling his earliest call. He was called to soothe hurting souls, to bring comfort and peace in times of loss, to make the process of grieving a bit easier to bear. He did that in life, and is somehow able to accomplish that same feat in death. Ain’t that just like Joe? Ain’t that just like God? ❤️

-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe

14 thoughts on “You Missed Your Calling

  1. Thanks AGAIN for Sharing!! I SO needed THIS Today..One day YOU will be able to have HIS and YOUR Book Plublished for people who are not on Facebook To Read..

    Like

  2. Ronda I think you have the calling as well. These messages are so powerful and such a blessing. I can’t imagine the lose you feel, I can’t imagine losing my precious David, but my prayers go up for you. Please continue sending these.🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️

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  3. You and Joe both met your calling in writing. You both have blessed so many of us with your beautiful heart-felt words. God bless you and may you continue the calling.

    Like

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