An Open Doors small group reflection
Topic: the cost of folowing our calling
Bible: Mark 12:28-31; 2 Timothy 1:8–14
Exploring our vocation and calling from God can be exciting. But what does godly vocation look like for persecuted Christians? And what can we learn about hearing the call of God on our own lives?
First, we have to recognise that we all have a calling – our primary and most wonderful calling in life is to a relationship with God. This call is on the life of every human being. And, as Jesus says in Mark 12:28-31, when we answer that call, we find we are called to serve others.
It is only then that we may also discover a calling that is unique and specific to each one of us, utilising our own unique set of gifts, skills and circumstances.
But what about Christians who, if they reveal their faith, will likely be persecuted for it? Does God call them to specific ministries?
The answer is yes.
Shekhar* from India became a Christian after someone gave him a Bible. It wasn’t long before he felt God call him to ministry in the church. His compassionate leadership was largely geared toward small prayer and worship meetings in peoples’ homes, particularly when people needed healing or comfort. But it has come at a cost.
India’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and for decades, India has been a place of respite for people of many faiths fleeing oppression. But the persecution of Christians in India is intensifying in many parts of the country as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse India of the presence and influence of believers.
This is leading to an often violent and carefully orchestrated targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in many parts of India. Increasing numbers of states are implementing anti-conversion laws, which purport to prevent coerced conversion, but are often abused to harass and intimidate Christians with false accusations of bribing people to convert.
Although Shekhar and his family have been shaken by their ordeal, Shekhar knows that the call of God on his life is stronger than anything he might face as a church leader in India. “I’ll keep serving God till my last breath, even in happiness or sadness, even if I have to suffer greatly or slightly, even if I have to give my life for God,” he says resolutely. “I cannot stop serving God. I cannot live without serving God because I’ve surrendered my whole life to Him.”
Shekhar understands that his primary call is to be in relationship with God. He knows that, when his foundation is Jesus, then he can stand firm, no matter what life throws at him.
No matter what season of life we find ourselves in, no matter where we feel God may be calling us – or even if we feel completely lost – Jesus is always beckoning us closer to Him.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus. Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.