Saturday, December 12, 2009

Screening Calls

Thanks to the invention of Caller ID a number of years ago, people began to feel like they had control over their phone lives again. No more interruptions by a telemarketer during dinner. Of course, now no one eats dinner together anyway. But I digress.

The unfortunate byproduct of this invention was that telemarketers were not the only ones getting screened. If each of us was brutally honest, we'd have to admit that we've glanced down at the ringing phone and chosen not to answer based on whose name or number was showing. (Don't judge me ... you know you've done it too.)

But there's another kind of "call" out there other than those that come in on the phone, and I can't help but wonder how many of us have screened those too.

The Call of God

There you are minding your own business with your very manageable and normal life and suddenly God interrupts. Some of us have permanently set our phones on silent for that kind of call. Still others argue with God and/or ourselves at the ludicrous idea He is proposing. We say things like, "What?! I can't do that," or "I think You've got the wrong person," or "I wouldn't even know where to begin," or "I don't want to join the Army!" (Ok, maybe that last one is primarily for me but you get the point.)

I was reading in the book of Amos this morning (when was the last time you read from that book?) and was reminded that God's outlandish calling patterns have existed for generations. How'd you like God to say, "Hey, I want you to go and tell my people whatever message I give you, ok? They usually won't listen, and they'll hate you for saying it, but I still want you to go." Oh, goodie. Where do I sign??? But look at these verses ...

Amos 7:14-15 (NIV)

14 Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'

There he was, minding his own business, raising sheep and growing fig trees ... then God called. Verse 14 also seems to indicate what his objection was ... God called him to do something he didn't know how to do. It was not exactly the family trade.

How about you? God calling you to do something that seems absurd? Feel inadequate, unworthy, and intimidated? Good! When we enter into something clearly bigger than us it forces us to rely on God. God doesn't call people who say, "Pick me! Pick me! I know more about this than anyone else. I'm your guy!" How does that person bring God any glory when clearly they intend to keep it all for themselves? No, instead He calls a kid to defeat Goliath, a carpenter to save the world, and a bunch of not-good-enoughs to proclaim that salvation to everyone.

Psalm 131:1-2 (NIV)

1 My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

THIS is the attitude God loves ... someone who is not proud or arrogant, but also someone who is not distracted by things that seem too great or too wonderful to possibly comprehend. Instead there is a stillness and quietness before God, like a child completely yielded to and dependent upon his mother.

My challenge to all of us, myself included, is that we stop screening God's calls but allow Him to use us to do great and mighty things for His glory. He will not force us to go. He will invite us. And He will provide everything we need.

Hey you! Time to start writing that book He's been writing inside of you.

And you! Stop ignoring the idea for that ministry He's been birthing in your mind.

Yeah, you too! Time to get on that plane and show love for someone on the other side of the world.

Stop concerning yourself with the great matters or the things too wonderful to comprehend. Answer the call. You will not be sorry you did.

1 comment:

  1. You're right! What I need to do is pay more attention to God and stop ignoring the calls from God. I need to answer more often than I usually do. Thanks!
    Nolan T.