Romans 11:29 says, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” “Without repentance” means that God will not change His mind about what He wants you to do. If God has called you, the calling is on you, regardless of whether you have obeyed. And if God gave you a gift, that gift is still there!
Paul told Timothy to “stir up” the gift in him: “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (2 Tim. 1:6). If you want to walk out God’s plan, it’s time to stir up that gift within you!
Are All Christians Called?
In Ephesians chapter 4, we read about some of the “gifts” God has given.
Ephesians 4:8, 11–12
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . .
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
The “gifts” in this passage refer to the fivefold ministry gifts: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. You might not be called to the fivefold ministry. But everyone can be involved in the ministry of helps, which is a necessary and important part of the Body of Christ. And in one sense, we are all called to preach.
To preach means “to proclaim or to tell.” All believers are supposed to share the Good News of the Gospel—the story of how Jesus reconciled us to God. We are all supposed to witness to others. Second Corinthians 5:18 says, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” According to this verse, we have all been called to be in ministry—the ministry of reconciliation!
If God has called you, the calling is still on you, regardless of whether you have obeyed.Kenneth E. Hagin
In Ephesians 4:11, we see there are different pulpit ministries God calls people to. God set these specific ministry gifts in the Church. Anyone who is called to the full-time pulpit ministry will operate in one of these areas. A person can also be called to stand in more than one office.
For instance, according to Acts 13:1 and Acts 14:14, we see that Barnabas and Paul were prophets, teachers, and apostles. The Holy Spirit gifted them to stand in these offices.
When someone first becomes born again, they may have such a desire to see people saved that they might think God called them to be an evangelist. If that is the case, they should obey the call. But if it isn’t, they can still help get people saved by being a minister of reconciliation.
I started preaching when I was 17. Wherever a door opened, I filled it. In 1936, another minister and I held a revival meeting out in the country, and a number of people were saved. Because there was no church in that community, the people wanted to start a church.
An empty building was offered to us free of charge. We fixed it up, and I preached there on Sundays. They wanted me to be their pastor. I told them I wasn’t a pastor, but I kept preaching there. When no other door was open to me, I finally said that I would be the pastor.
I started pastoring at 18 and pastored at five different churches for nearly 12 years. The last church I oversaw was the best. It offered the nicest parsonage. My family was more comfortable and better cared for than we had ever been before. We had the highest income we’d ever had. The church was thriving. People were getting born again, filled with the Spirit, and healed. The attendance was the largest in the history of that church. I had every reason in the world to be content there. Yet, I felt dissatisfied. It felt like washing my feet with my socks on! It just didn’t feel right!
So in the winter of 1947–48, I began spending extra time in prayer. I asked God what was wrong with me. I kept praying. After several months, the Lord said, “The problem is that I never called you to pastor to begin with. That’s not your calling. But I permitted you to do so.”
Someone may say, “I guess you missed God all those years.” No, God will take us through a learning process. And we may have to learn some things before we move from one office to another. We may have to learn some things before we can fulfill the call of God on our lives.
Although the Lord didn’t call me to pastor, I prayed before taking each assignment. And for every church except one, the Lord told me to take it. I missed God on the one church He didn’t instruct me to take.
Someone may ask, “If God called you to do one thing, why would He let you do something else?” Because there is always going to be a proving time. No matter what God has called you to do, He will prove you out before He promotes you.
We have to be faithful, obedient, and patient to fulfill God’s call. The Lord may temporarily lead you to do something. That doesn’t mean the gift is gone or the calling has disappeared because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. In other words, God doesn’t change His mind!
Use Your Gifts
According to First Corinthians 12:27, you and I are the Body of Christ and members in particular. Each member has a part to play in the Body. What is your role? What has God gifted and called you to do?
Whatever your calling is, God has gifted you to do it. You may not have heeded God’s call in the past, but it is still there. Decide today to stir up the gift within you and fulfill what God destined you to do.
Maybe God is leading you to be in full-time ministry. Or possibly He has gifted you with a business sense or an artistic talent. Perhaps you feel called to raise a family. Whatever God’s gifts and callings for you are, determine in your heart to be faithful and obedient to carry out His plan for your life.
[Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the December 2004 Word of Faith magazine. For more information about the gifts and callings of God, go to rhema.org/store to purchase a copy of He Gave Gifts Unto Men.]
Kenneth E. Hagin
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