All of us instinctually want to know that there is meaning to our lives and that we add meaning for those around us—that we are living a life of consequence and transcendence. Elton Trueblood wrote, “A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.” We want to live for something more than ourselves. Meaning and fulfillment are only experienced as our lives, in some way, touch another person. Those who live solely for themselves— their needs, their happiness, their comfort and protection—will suffer a claustrophobia of the heart, the acute discomfort of living in a story far too small. A person’s heart is as large as the things he loves.
So, possessing a calling (a weighty purpose in life) is not just for a few—the “elite.” It is the design and destiny of every person. If there was not great meaning to our lives, we would not be asking questions about our calling. A life of calling is by no means limited to the categories that we have been given: church, missionary, public office, the “professions.” Nor could our calling be fully contained, utilized, or fulfilled in a job or position. The calling on our lives is as broad, as large, as grand as the story we are living in. The creative scope of our calling is, as Dallas Willard put it, to live as a “co-worker with God in the creative enterprise of life on earth.” Our calling is about something deeper, something more profound and pervasive than any assessment, test, or indicator could ever fully touch or grasp.