The Guitarist (2)

In my previous post I mentioned someone I once knew who was an amazing guitarist and who was having trouble finding steady work and income via guitar playing. His lack of an income led to problems at home with his wife because they were not financially solvent. His wife urged him to seek other forms of employment so that bread could be put on the table, however he would not because, playing the guitar was his calling in life. God had given him this gift and this was what he was supposed to be doing.  How could he turn back on God’s call? The marriage ultimately folded.

Some Comments On This – A Sketch.
1. How does one determine what God’s call is? It seems to me that in the ruggedly individualistic West, one often looks inward in order to determine such. So we look at our gifts for example. Then from here we proceed to calling and in turn to professional work. In the more social and relational East however, one often looks outwards. They look out into society and ask what the needs are.  So to put it bluntly, in the East, people look outwards, see starvation and then decide that whatever they do in life, work-wise, it had better put bread on the table or else they will starve.  There are no psychological emotional struggles and such. You either work or you starve.
2. A gift is not synonymous with a call. A gift can operate on a local level or a global level.  When a gift operates on a local level, such as playing the guitar at church or at home for fun as a hobby, it serves a different purpose than to earn income. When a gift operates on a global level, then it could really be what you do to make money as in when you give a string of guitar concerts before very many people. Whatever it is, just because you have a gift does not automatically mean it is a call. You could just sit at home and play the guitar to unwind from a stressful day.

3. While we all have gifts that need to be nurtured, they can never develop into calls such that they conflict with what I call default calls. What do I mean by default calls. One, our primary call is to be Jesus’ disciple. If our gift/calling becomes an idol, we have a serious problem. Another default call is that we are all by nature called to be a father or a mother or son or sister or a husband or wife, etc. You cannot renege your responsibility, that is, your calling to be a father on account of your apparent “calling” to be a guitar player! To do so is not only to renege on your calling to be a father, but also to do a disservice to the Kingdom of God. The Bible explicitly speaks on what Kingdom values and actions are in very many places (e.g. 1 Timothy 5:8).  Honor them and push the Kingdom of God forward rather then getting caught up in self-fulfillment related call.

Mandora by Georges Braque (1882-1963)