Wendell Berry in his book, The Unsettling of America, comments on the great British Agricultural Scientist Sir Albert Howard’s dilemma. Howard believed that you could not tackle the problem of agriculture without talking about people, economy and the rest of things that make up this thing called life. He believed there was “one great subject”.
Berry’s summation of Howard’s response:
“Sir Albert Howard could no longer ask,
What can I do with what I know?
without at the same time asking,
How can I be responsible for what I know?“
(Sidenote: Just for the record if you have not delved into the world of Wendell Berry, you are missing out. Stop reading this post and do a google search for Wendell Berry and read a bit about him. Go to the library and pick up one of his non-fiction or fiction books. You will not be disappointed and your soul will be better for the reading.)
So what does this have to do with our calling from God?
So many times on this very blog I have stressed the importance of living out your call. The primary approach I have taken is this: Find out what you are passionate about, what you are drawn to and what you are good at and do that. In other other words, what can I do with what I know. But there is a point that Berry brings up in the second question that we also must address.
It is not simply about what we know and have been given. It is about how we can be responsible for that which we know. God calls. God gives passion and gives deep heart stirrings that we can not ignore. Pay attention to those.
But know this also, to whom much is given, much is expected. Those are Jesus’ words in Luke 12:48.
We must be responsible- caring, nurturing, and attentive to His call, to those things that we know that we know. We must cultivate those things that God is growing in us. Plowing up the ground is not enough. We must be responsible for the things that God is growing in us.
Living our God calling is not only about knowing our call but is also about seeing it for what it is: a great privilege and responsibility.
Do you understand both what to do with what you know and do you see how to be responsible for what you know?
Be strong and courageous friends as you keep moving forward.