The Call Continues
“And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.”
With high school graduation excitement in the air, many are indulging in their last “free” summer before beginning a chosen college or career choice into this great mystery of life that lays before them. For some, the ending of this chapter is rather exhilarating. For others, this next phase proves daunting and, in many ways, administers anxiety in our quest for what’s next. Both are merited and true in their own way. In short, this is an exciting time.
Possibly one of the most overlooked areas during this time of filling out applications and scholarships is asking ourselves the question, “How do our plans fall in line with furthering the kingdom of God?” I have witnessed many during this time of decision struggle between the conformity of cultural standards and the diluting of the divine—in essence, choosing to follow after their own identity than to trust in God’s calling.
The story of Jacob’s name being changed to Israel gives us a glimpse into the raw reality of human nature. Throughout the entire Bible the name Jacob and Israel are continually interchanged after God speaks, showing us that he never truly committed to one plan or the other. Consistently caught between two choices.
“And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.”
Even on his deathbed we learn that there was still a struggle with the calling of God on his life.
The fascinating thing about the call of God is that He will literally begin calling you what He has created in you. He called Abram to be Abraham in Genesis 17 because the name Abram means “the high father,” while his calling was Abraham, a father of a multitude. The call of God will always take you beyond yourself. When you get to the end of who you are, you can discover who God has planned for you to be.
Just because this may be your last year for youth camps or you’re caught between semesters, remember the call continues in your life. As an adult, the decisions are up to you now. The question becomes what will you follow after? You don’t simply choose in the altar; you will choose in your dorm, the classroom, and your workplace.
Your life in many ways is just beginning, and the question is, “Whom will you follow?”
Eric is married to his best friend, Rachel, and has one little girl, Evelyn Rose. Together they serve as the young adult pastors at New Life Christian Center in Lancaster, Ohio. He enjoys being outdoors and adding to his collection of books.