On his blog, Michael has asked "what is your calling"? I thought I would respond here rather than clutter up his comment section with a long post.
I was actually just thinking about this earlier today. I hadn't really thought of it as a calling, but it is my passion and it is something that other people notice in me, so I suppose that may be considered an indication of a calling. I tend to be drawn to those individuals that are often seen as outsiders ... people who are weird, or differnet, or poor, or messed up in some way. One of my best friends has called me "the patron saint of lost causes". Let me assure you he did not mean that as a compliment ... he was rather upset with me at the time he said it, but I suppose it may be true in the sense that I find myself drawn to the people no one else cares about.
Part of this comes out of my own feelings of being an outsider. I can relate to people who don't quite fit in or who struggle in some way because I have experienced not fitting in and struggle for most of my own life. My heart goes out to people in pain and it's only natural that I want to let them know that someone cares.
Another reason is simply that I believe that the only things that matter in life are to love God and love other people. I really can't think of anything else that matters a whole lot. I also find it difficult to ignore Matthew chapter 25.
The thing is, a lot of people believe that we should love ... and a lot of people do try to love others but they do so expecting something in return. I don't believe that is the kind of love God calls us to. In fact, I don't believe that is love at all. For a long time I expected a return, or a response of some sort ... or at least some evidence that my caring mattered to the person I was reaching out to. But I've learned that even that is not something that can be expected. Love is most pure when it is given with any expectaion. The person may or may not love us back, they may or may not change, they may or may not care that we care, and they may never find Christ because of our love. It is simply the loving that we are to do and without regard for the results.
That is not to say that I find this calling easy to live out. I fail miserably at times. I actually find it much easier to love those who have been cast aside by others than to love the person in the pew next to me who thinks they have it all together. Thankfully I serve a gracious and forgiving God.