God calls us on a party line

Here in Saginaw, Texas many people have told me about what it was like being a kid and having a party phone line. This was a time when people had telephones in their homes but several homes used the same phone line. Each family had a unique ring for their home so that if you heard the phone ring two shorts and one long that was a call for your neighbors but if you hear three shorts then someone was calling your home. 

Since the party line was open to everyone on the line, you might be having a conversation on the phone but then a neighbor might pick up the phone to make a call only to discover that another family was on the line. When you lived with a party line there were good chances you heard other's phone calls.

I owe  Rev. Nancy Allen credit who said, in passing, God calls us on party lines not private lines. 

When God is calling you for something, God does not just whisper that to you so that only you can hear it. God understands that the world works through the relationships that exist within it. As such when God calls you for something, others will hear/see that call as well. God calls us on a party line not private lines.

So if you are trying to discern what God may be calling you for, perhaps it is worth asking others what gifts and graces they see in you. Maybe they have heard something on the line that God called you on.

Ministry Motivation

Someone asked the other day, "Why do you do what you do?"

Not a bad question. Who really wants to work in the non-profit sector in a position that has dwindling social status and is difficult to make friends because your social life suffers at the hands of having to work weekends? Oh, did I mention that you get to face the darkness of people's lives and are asked to share "Good News" at all times? 

There are three things that motivate me in ministry beyond the fact that I believe I am called into this work. (I would not choose this for myself for the above mentioned reasons, but I cannot imagine doing anything else).

I am willing to bet that my motivators are also similar to those fortunate enough to have a job that fits their vocation.


In no real order, the primary motivators are:

    • Passion
    • Purpose
    • Prophetic

    I have a passion of helping people spiritually develop and mature. I have a growing sense that the amount of spiritual immaturity is growing and needs to be addressed (see some of the immature responses to the Sandy Hook shooting). I am passionate about helping people to spiritually mature. I am willing to bet those who have found their vocation are motivated by a deep passion.

    Another motivator in my life is a deep sense of purpose to do what I am called to do. My purpose and passion are very much related and overlap all the time. It is my sense of purpose that gives me the courage/strength that is needed to have difficult conversations that are easily dodged if my purpose was more focused on making people happy.

    Finally, those who have a clear purpose and passion for their vocation some tend to have a prophetic understanding of their vocation. What I mean by this is that to be prophetic is to be one who speaks truth to power even in the face of personal danger. A person may be passionate about  their job and even have a clear purpose as to what they want to do, but are not interested in putting their very self on the line for the sake of their vocation. Being prophetic is a double edged sword that does not garner a lot of friends, but frankly is a motivating factor for me and those I admire.

    So what motivates you to do what you do?