In Ephesians 4:1 Paul says this....
"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called...." [the New American Standard Bible (1995)] The King James version uses the word "vocation" but it is better understood as "calling." It is a reference to the general calling of grace that the first three chapters have described. So all christians have a "calling" and we're to walk accordingly.
Roman Catholic writer Michael Novak wrote a book on 'Business as a calling' in which he presented four aspects of a "calling." [His idea was in the context of business remember.] He said a calling will have ...1) an understanding that it is a personal and unique calling to you.... 2) A requirement for the talents needed for the task and a love for the drugery that may be involved in the task to which you're called.... 3) The presence of an enjoyment for and renewed energies from the doing of the task that is your calling.... 4) A period of discernment and testing for [learning all about] the task to which you're called.
Not bad. I would think in the Ephesians 4 context our calling, which is to the same Lord Paul was a prisoner of in verse 1 and that Lordship calling is for EVERY true believer, might have the same characteristics about it... 1) It IS personal and unique to each of us... 2) We HAVE been gifted for our Life in Him... 3) There IS joy unspeakable in our life in Him and strength provided for the living of life... 4) We then spend the rest of our lives learning what life is all about by "hearing Him" as commanded of the Father. As I said, not bad.
I would also add what someone else has called a fifth aspect of a true calling and it was..5) An orientation away from self so our goal would be the glory of God and the good of others in all things. That makes it even better.
It is obvious from all this that I believe we as christians have accepted the universal vocation [calling] of following Christ and Novak's ideas can be seen as relevent to that task/life.
But... is there in life a calling to a more specific vocation for all of us through which we make a living, provide for our families and, generally, live out our days on earth?
In other words, are we "called" to a career? And if we are, how do we know what we are to do for a career or livelihood if there is, in fact, a calling to one? Add to that the question... is the "calling" to "fulltime ministry" a GREATER calling than the calling to other careers? It is this that I'm addressing today.
Since I believe ALL of life is sacred and there is NO division in scripture between the sacred and the secular [See 1 Corinthians 3:21-23.] I think we are to view ANYTHING we choose to do in life as a "calling." A better way of saying it is we are to see anything we choose to do as an opportunity to life-out our Lordship calling. Choose anything you wish but see it as a commitment to express His life in you and understand that what you do choose is a gift from Him to you.
Someone may be saying "Wait a minute Brother Paul, it sounds like you're saying we can choose however we wish in matters of life instead of finding God's specific will in those matters." I am. The only WILL God has revealed to you and me specifically is that we are to live as what we are...'Sanctified people." [1 Thess. 4:3 the rest of the chapter shows what that looks like.] When we are commited to Him as Lord we will reflect that in whatever we choose. Our life is not to be lived trying to find out what He wishes we would do in each decision but, rather, in celebrating who He is as our Lord and making ANY decision accordingly.
So I say marry whomever you choose, go to whatever College you wish, get whatever degree you desire, and live wherever you long to live. But in EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE see it as that which allows you to be effective for God in the world and bring glory to Him and good for people. Your vocation or marriage or career or whatever will only allow you to establish God's order and virtue in your life and to assist other people to do the same. This is Christianity to me.
By the way, as to whether a "calling to full-time ministry" is more sacred than anyone else's..my answer is NO. It is different. It is unique to the one called. There is greater responsibility for certain areas of life affected by that calling. But remember, all that's true of every christian's life as well in their unique way of living. It's ALL sacred and satisfying and spiritual when He is Lord.
So you obiously can see I believe every christian IS a full-time minister. Some are just placed as gifts to the Body as shepherds/pastors/elders/deacons but all are gifts and gifted for the Body of Christ [for ministry] and for the living of life however we live it. [Which is ministry.] "Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of God."
By the way, if I'm out in left field with this don't tell me. I'm having too much fun out here. ;)