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09/30/2022 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – I have a question: What is your calling?  How does being asked that question make you feel?

It makes a lot of us feel like second-class citizens because many of us don’t have a clear calling. We listen to people who have a direct, specific calling from the Lord, and we think, “I don’t have that. I’m kind of doing life without a very clear compass direction.”

I think that question can create a lot of shame.

Let’s look at the life of a woman with an evident calling: Amy Carmichael. She had a very clear calling to India. So clear that she ripped up the script of her life, and she decided her life would be spent on behalf of the loss of India.

She never had kids. She was never married. She felt, “That is my calling, and that is what I’m going to do with my life.”

So, Amy goes to India. She starts sharing the gospel. And while she’s doing that, she begins to understand the culture. Amy looks at the temples. There are prostitutes in some of the temples—just like in the Bible. People pay “alms,” and they are using these girls. The temple has captured them and uses them as sex slaves.

Amy’s heart breaks over this, and she begins to rescue these girls. She takes them out of their circumstances and creates a shelter for them.

As you can imagine, this creates a lot of trouble for her because she is messing with society. On the one hand, she’s messing with the religion of people. On the other hand, this is big business. If you run this temple, there’s money coming to you, right? So, Amy’s actions created a lot of blowback. At one point, she was charged with crimes and faced seven years in prison, but the charges were dropped. Nothing ever happened.

Amy, throughout her life, endured a lot of physical pain. She suffered from neurological pain, and at one point, she broke her leg and her ankle so severely that it left her bedridden for the last 20 years of her life.

But she didn’t stop. She kept sharing the gospel. She was helped by others, wrecking the temple prostitution business and rescuing the girls. And during this time in which her life was seemingly destroyed, she wrote 37 books—all from her bed.

Amy’s calling to India was obvious and very dramatic. Pull back and think about her work. Her work was to share the gospel and to rescue the oppressed. And that can be done anywhere! That can be done in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, and Peoria, Illinois. It doesn’t matter. Location isn’t the issue.

Her example is to be faithful in ministry wherever you are, to live a life of devotion to God, and to let Him work through you. It doesn’t matter if you’re in secular work or ministry work. At the core of our spiritual calling is this: to put everything on the altar and to give him a greater portion of our heart.

And we have to do that again and again.

While doing that, we can look at Amy’s life and see that it’s not just the life of any missionary. It’s the life of all of us. There’s going to be lots of pain. There’s going to be lots of hardship and struggle.

But we press on. We don’t let those things stop us, but remember that it’s not what we do; it’s how much of what we do that we give Him.

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).

Find a gospel-based ministry that serves the oppressed, and ask them how you can help with your time.


  • Have you sensed any kind of calling in your life? If not, ask the Father to show you what it is.
  • How much of your life have you given to the Lord? What part of it are you holding back from Him?
  • Who is somebody you know with a very distinct calling from God? How did they respond to it at first?

This was an excerpt from Jeff King’s upcoming devotional book focused on spiritual lessons from the persecuted. For information about pre-orders, please contact [email protected].

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