I will never forget a telephone call I received on August 9, 1985. To this day, very few people know about this call. At the time I was a partner at Smiley & Atchison, a commercial real estate development company in Kingwood, Texas. We had been blessed with tremendous success and had just closed an 18-million-dollar deal. One of the Houston law firms that represented us had close ties with Washington D.C. and was involved in national politics. In fact, their lead partner was a close personal friend of Jim Baker, the Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan.
When my assistant said there was a call for me, I picked up the phone with no specific expectation; but I can tell you that I was not ready for what happened next. A woman’s voice asked, “Is this David Atchison of Smiley & Atchison?” Nonchalantly, I replied “Yes.” Then she said, “Please hold for a call from the president.” I wasn’t particularly startled since I knew several corporate presidents that might be calling; but she didn’t identify the company and her tone sounded very official. I waited a few seconds then a man came on the line and said something unforgettable: “Hello, Mr. Atchison, this is President Reagan.”
To this day, I’m not sure exactly what transpired over the next ten seconds, but I was absolutely frozen. I had a few friends who enjoyed playing pranks, but I had heard this voice scores of times on television. President Reagan began explaining that through mutual friends, I had been recommended as a possible candidate for a new commission he was forming. Some critical tax reform issues that would significantly impact real estate were being debated on Capitol Hill. Next, he asked a few questions about my views on the long term capital gains tax.
By then I had broken out into a cold sweat. I used words as sparingly as possible, trying to sound calm and halfway intelligent. Finally, he said I would receive some papers by mail, and gave me a telephone number that rang directly to his assistant. We hung up and I sat at my desk in utter disbelief. The President of the United States of America had just called to ask me to serve on his behalf!
One thing you need to understand is that everything I shared with you is completely true . . . except that phone call never really happened . . .
Ok, I may have had you going for a moment, but why do you think I had your full attention? Maybe because it’s unbelievable to think that the President of the United States, perhaps the most powerful man in the world, would call an average guy like me. To be contacted by him, have a personal conversation with him and to be invited to serve him would be a life-altering event.
Except, have you ever earnestly considered that you and I have received a far more astounding call? That Almighty God, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, the great I AM has revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh (John 1:1-5). Considering this, what exactly is a call or calling from God?
If you have become a Christ-follower, God has indeed called you, and extended you a personal invitation to make a contribution in his kingdom (both current and future). You and I have been assigned to serve distinct roles and missions on his behalf. God has provided every believer with spiritual gifts, God-given talents and skills and various passions for causes that can make an eternal difference right now.
As Paul was writing to the Christians in Corinth about the wisdom and power of God, he challenged them to “consider your calling . . .” (1 Corinthians 1:26) I hope you will join me over the next several weeks as we consider the life-changing implications of a call from God—one infinitely beyond the story I just fabricated.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Lord, My mind can hardly process the idea that you know me by name; yet you declare that you created me, weaving me together in my mother’s womb, recording my days before I ever lived one of them (Psalm 139). Even more amazing is that you have called me to faith and have enlisted me to know you and serve you where I work in the marketplace. Help me to never get over the amazement and thrill that you would love me enough to reach out to me, much less to invite me to work alongside you. Like the Psalmist, I pray, “Teach me to number my days that I present to you a heart of wisdom.”
“I pray the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know the hope of His calling . . .” Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1:18