George MacDonald and “Calling”

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By , August 14, 2009 10:43 am

From the last chapter of Os Guiness, The Call:

No one has captured this more profoundly than George MacDonald in his sermon “The New Name” from Unspoken Sermons.  In his message in Revelation to the Church in Pergamum, Jesus promised “a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” MacDonald pointed out in good biblical fashion that “the true name is one which expresses the character, the nature, the meaning of the person who bears it. It is the man’s own symbol — his soul’s picture, in a word — the sign which belongs to him and no one else. Who can give a man this, his own nature? God alone. For no one but God sees what a man is.”

But then, in a hauntingly suggestive passage, MacDonald went further and gave the lie to all who think that “discovering our giftedness and calling” and “fulfilling the real you” is a simple and straightforward matter.

It is only when the man has become his name that God gives him the stone with the name upon it, for then first can he understand what his name signifies. It is the blossom, the perfection, the completeness, that determines the name: and God foresees that from the first because He made it so: but the tree of the soul, before its blossom comes, cannot understand what blossom it is to bear and could not know what the word meant, which, in representing its own unarrived completeness, named itself.

Such a name cannot be given until the man is the name. God’s name for the man must be the expression of His own idea of the man, that being whom He had in his thought when he began to make the child, and whom He keeps in His thought through the long process of creation that went to realize the idea. To tell the name is to seal the success — to say “In thee also I am well pleased.”

Perhaps you are frustrated by the gap that still remains between your vision and your accomplishment. Or you may be depressed by the pages of your life that are blotched with compromises, failures, betrayals, and sin. You have had your saw.  Other may have had their say. But make no judgements and draw no conclusions until the scaffolding of history is stripped away and you see what it means for God to have had his saw — and made you what you were called to be.

We are “called to be.” Who dares set against this sublime vision the crude insult of being “constrained to be,” the puny audacity of “the courage to be” or the pedestrian fatalism of being “constituted to be”? From its awesome beginning, when a voice was heard but no figure seen, to its soaring climax, when God will unveil his design for all his children at our Last Call, the character and purpose of calling beggar the imagination and thrill the heart and soul of all but the most deaf and unresponsive.

I hope that’s encouraging to all you readers as it is to me!

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