The Bible often speaks of “a calling” and throughout the Scriptures, many people are called to follow God and chosen to do certain works for him.
In general, all are called to God. There is nothing in the Bible that says God appoints certain people for hell. All are invited to heaven. But although all of humanity is invited to come to God, there are some who are called the Elect who are chosen to belong. But even these people must make their calling sure.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:10
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you 1 Thessalonians 1:4
Often the many people called in the Scriptures, some did not understand that they were being called.
It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy.And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10 NASB
Sometimes those who were called questioned God’s choosing them, were angry or felt too weak for the task He had appointed them.
And Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since you have spoken to your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say. Exodus 4:10-12
“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:6
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3
Sometimes they needed to learn from others before they begin their spiritual work. Sometimes not.
Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: Amos 7:14
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. Galatians 1:18
Sometimes those who were called to a special ministry for God did not realize they were doing the Lord’s command until long after the event. Sometimes they never realized at all, or realized it only dimly.
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spoke he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. John 11:49-52
For in that she has poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Truly I say to you, Wherever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman has done, be told for a memorial of her. Matthew 26:2,13
And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, your King comes, sitting on an ass’s colt. These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things to him. John 12:14-16
But the Lord said to him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. Acts 9:15-16
The Holy Spirit declares through the Scriptures that there are people who feel they are sons of God because their families or clans were religious, or because of their own selfish carnal human desires or because others thought they should become ministers. But those whom God calls His sons are truly called by God.
He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13
Scripture declares that any gift given by God is never taken away.
For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.Romans 11:29
However, the receiver of the gift must learn how to use the gift, and must use it with true Christian love.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1,2
Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not you therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be you partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 2 Timothy 1:6-8
From now on I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:15-17