Friday, March 1, 2013

God's Call 2

Last week, we took a look at God's call on our lives.  We decided that God has definitely called us to use the talents and resources he has blessed us with in His service.  It sounds so nice and easy, doesn't it?  God gave us skills and resources that we enjoy, so we can enjoy using them to further His kingdom.  While all of that is true, I don't want to leave you with the impression that we are always going to feel well equipped in ourselves to do His work.  I also don't want you to think that service to God is always fun.  Rewarding (in the eternal sense), yes.  A piece of cake here on earth?  Not so much.  

When we read Biblical accounts of people we called, we see that many of them felt totally inadequate for the task at hand.  In a way, they were right. On their own, they were not equipped.  Moses, a runaway murderer turned shepherd, could not speak well. When he was called, he just kept coming up with excuses.  "I don't know your name; they won't believe me; I'm not a good speaker."  Each time, God gave him a patient answer.  "I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak" (Exodus 4:12).  The only time God became angry was when Moses asked Him to send someone else instead.  

Jeremiah did not incur as much wrath, but he did tell God he did not know how to speak because he was so young.  I love what God did for him.  "Then the Lord stretched out his hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, 'Behold, I have put my words in your mouth'" (Jeremiah 1:9). In a much more visual display, God had Ezekiel eat a scroll to symbolize God's words being placed in the prophet's mouth (Ezekiel 3:1-4). 

What about us? We'll not be eating any scrolls in the near future, but we do have a blessing that Moses, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah did not have.  We have the complete word of God available in book, audio, and electronic form.  We are called to share his Word with others, and all we have to do to prepare is to hide it in our hearts. From there, it will flow from our mouths (Luke 6:45).  

Do you remember when I confessed that I needed to get to know the teenage girls in our congregation?  We are starting a monthly class for them.  At first, I was terrified.  What can I, the nerdly, frumpy mother of three who was never a typical teenage girl, have to say to these beautiful young ladies?  As I've prayed, though, I've realized that I've already been given the words to say.  The Scripture speaks for itself, all I need do is present it to them.  Who I am isn't nearly as important as whose I am.

As comforting as it is to know that God's word prepares us for speaking, it is even more encouraging to realize that the Bible prepares for us for ALL the tasks we are called to.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  

No matter what work we are called to do, God will make us adequate through his Word. Isn't that encouraging?  

Not to burst our bubble of encouragement, but we do need to remember that not all the tasks God gives to us are easy or fun.  God has a habit of taking his followers out of their comfort zone and into the radical zone.  Hosea was told to marry a prostitute, then buy her back when she left him, all so God could teach his people through a living example how much He loved them (Hosea 1-3).  Ezekiel was told to lay on his side for 390 days while cooking his food on a fire fueled by human poop to give a visual representation of what would happen to Israel if they did not repent (Ezekiel 3). (God relented on the the human poop part and let him use cow dung when Ezekiel complained).  Even the results were discouraging.  Israel did not repent, and Jerusalem was destroyed. 

Likewise, not everything we are called to do is fun through and through. From the simple things like holding a crying baby in the training room at church so her Mamma can participate in a worship service to the more radical works like reaching out to the mentally ill homeless or selling all your possessions and moving to a foreign land to share the gospel, the world abounds with hard jobs.  They leave us frazzled, fatigued, and discouraged.

Just at the time I feel like complaining about how hard my job is though, I remember what Jesus did for me.  I do not deserve the salvation he purchased with his blood.  His job, taking on the sins of the world, was difficult and painful, and yet He did it anyway.  Not only that, but he has prepared a place in heaven for me where the hard jobs won't be necessary anymore.  My life is a vapor; I can spend the short time that I have working for Him, sweating for Him, knowing that in the end I have a home with Him.

So the next time you are asked to do a job that you feel inadequate to do, don't dismiss it out of hand.  When the education minister asks you to teach a class of pre-teens, that could very well be God calling you!  When you see that help is needed in a less than glamorous job, and no one else is stepping up, that could be God's call too.  If a job feels  hard, remember that God's word equips us for all good works, and that our reward in heaven will more than make up for any unpleasantness we experience down here. 
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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