No doubt almost all of us have sat through countless talks about “finding your purpose” and “discovering your calling” – especially during those exciting but confusing young adult years.  As I think about these things now, fast approaching my fifties, I have to admit that I still don’t have a completely solid handle on what, exactly, my purpose or calling is.  But, unlike during my 20’s and 30’s –  I’m totally OK with that. What I am pretty sure of is a couple of key principles that I think we need to hold on to as believers as we try to honour and be obedient to the things He has for us.  I’ll share two big ones briefly here – both things that I feel strongly are often underemphasised and things I will be teaching to my children as they navigate their way towards adulthood.

“I have come to believe that my calling and purpose is more about my sonship as a child of God than about what job I do.”

Two key principles I’ve learnt:

  • The Lord generally isn’t asking you to change what you’re doing (unless of course it is illegal or against His character).  Rather, He is calling you to ‘consecrate’ it.  Think of the first disciples. After meeting Jesus, their job as fishermen was elevated to being ‘fishers of men’, but they still also continued as regular fishermen for the rest of their lives.  The Lord added a higher layer of meaning and purpose to their chosen vocation as they chose to follow Him.  And although they continued fishing, that vocation no longer defined them, because their new, holy purpose was suddenly a lot bigger than that!
  • The Lord generally calls us to being more than to doing.  I have come to believe that my calling and purpose is more about my sonship as a child of God than about what job I do.  Who I am and Whose I am is way more important than what I do.  Daily intimacy, surrender and righteous identity in Him is what I am called to, whatever season it is that I’m in and whatever it is that my hands find to do. 

I found this in my journal from a few years ago, written soon after I joined CBN:

As CBN SA Regional Director my purpose is to lead, challenge and equip individuals and teams into connection, growth and integration, for the strengthening and expansion of God’s Kingdom through the ministry of CBN.  I will maximise the opportunity we have to bring His Kingdom (freedom, wholeness, joy, restoration, truth, peace, etc) to people in the Southern and Eastern region of Africa.”

With God’s help, alongside my amazing team and CBN partners, I am honoured to try my best to still live out this call to lead each day – along with the other callings I have as a husband, dad, friend, son and brother.  I am firmly convinced that within each of these roles He gives me freedom and creativity to choose a lot of the doing part.  Yet He is constantly calling me and empowering me to live more and more according to His purposes for the being part.  

A Challenge To You

What is His call on your life?  What is your purpose?  Although, like me, you will want to discover certain specific answers and details to those important questions for each season of life, all of us can always be sure of our primary calling and purpose here on earth:  to journey daily with our Lord, as children, in simple faith and obedience.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

(Micah 6:8)


Ian Walton

Ian serves as the Regional Director for CBN Southern and East Africa. He loves building teams, telling stories and working in authentic Kingdom partnerships. He and his wife Shélagh are both media professionals and teachers by training. They live near the sea in Cape Town with their daughter, their twin sons and a strange little brown poodle called Eddy.