Every Pastor, Missionary and Christian worker would like to be able to say they were Called by God.
In the Old Testament many individuals were spoken to and were called by God. But prior to the birth of Christ, there was 400 years of Silence. No word from God. No one called by God. And then in God’s time His promises were fulfilled.
Isaiah 7:9 were Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
The twelve apostles were called by God (Matthew 4:18-22, 10:14, Mark 3:13-14, Luke 6:13-16) although they probably didn’t understand it all, in fact later one turned against him (Matthew 26:48 Mark 14:43-44, Luke 22:47-48).
One man can really make the claim CALLED BY GOD. Saul of Tarsus. A devote Jew, very zealous for his religion. So zealous that he persecuted his fellow Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah. He chased; them from city to city, having them thrown into prison and even put to death.
(Acts 22:3-5 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.)
Then, on his way to Damascus to continue his work, he met the risen Messiah and Saul became a believer. (ACTS 9:3-6, 22:6-10, 26:12-18).
After a time in Damascus staying with one Ananias, where he received his sight back, he returned to Jerusalem. While at Jerusalem he was praying in the TEMPLE when Jesus appeared to him face to face.
(Acts 22:17-21 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.)
Now Saul, who later would be called Paul, truly was called by God. But what about today? How can someone claim to be called by God? According to Scripture:
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
God, the Lord Christ Jesus no longer auditability speaks to individuals nor does he appear physically to anyone. In fact, the next time believers will see him is in the air.
(Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.)
It would appear that to be called by God it would come from reading, studying the holy scripture, attendance at a Bible preaching assembly where the word of God is expounded.
(1 Corinthians 2:1-13 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.)
So, Pastors, Missionaries and Christian workers who are moved by the Holy Spirit through the reading, studying or hearing the word preached can truly say they were called by God into the ministry. But according to scripture, PAUL was the last one CALLED BY GOD, face to face.