“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)
We had a missionary at our church recently and he preached on God’s calling.
“When God calls, you know it,” the missionary said, “and you have two responses: to answer his call with a yes or to answer with a no.”
He referenced the well-known examples of the apostles Peter and Paul being called to discipleship by Jesus. For those who might be reading this and aren’t familiar with the accounts here’s a brief summary.
Jesus asked the fisherman Simon Peter to row him into the lake where He spoke to a crowd on the shore of Lake Gennesaret from Peter’s boat. When he finished talking he told Peter to row out farther into the lake and drop his nets on the other side of the boat in a place where Peter had fished all night and caught nothing. Peter did as Jesus asked and the nets caught so many fish the ropes started to break. Then Jesus invited Peter to follow him and become ‘fishers of men.’ Peter left his fishing boat and became a disciple. (Luke 5:1-11) At the time of his calling, Peter had no idea what lay ahead for him. He just heard the Lord’s invitation, gave up everything, and followed.
Paul, formerly known as Saul, was on the road to Damascus intent on hunting Christians and bringing them to Jerusalem for punishment. But God had other plans. Christ spoke to Saul from a brilliant heavenly light, leaving him blinded. Saul’s encounter with Christ, and the miracle of Ananias restoring Saul’s sight, caused the most notorious persecutor of Christians to become a follower of Christ. His name was changed to Paul and he became Christ’s missionary to the Gentiles. (Acts 9:1-31) Unlike Peter, Paul probably had an idea of what might lay ahead for him as a disciple of Christ. After all, he had been persecuting believers who were on the same faith road Paul now chose to walk.
The supernatural nature of Peter and Saul’s calls to Christ are unique. Faced with these miracles, how could you resist such a spectacular display of God’s mighty power? If this had happened to me I’d be hard pressed to walk away.
Today, God still calls us to follow him, but it’s not always in a spectacular fashion. You may have grown up in the church and learned of God’s love at an early age and becoming a follower was a natural progression. Or you may have become convicted to become a follower because you just recently learned about Christ, or because you’d seen a need to turn your life around. Your answer to his call may hinge upon a logical or an emotional decision. God calls us all in different ways, but He always calls because He loves us.
Once you’ve made the decision to follow Christ, God’s calls don’t end. He may not call you to become a missionary in a foreign country, where you will most likely face persecution, but, rest assured, He will call you, You can also expect Him to call you many times, because God’s work never ends.
He may call you to leave home, when you’ve never had any urge to do so, because he wants you to grow or meet someone who will teach you about Him. Or, in the wee hours of the night while you’re sitting in an empty hospital cafeteria, you may hear Him say, “Come back home and care for your ailing relative.” Perhaps He will whisper to you to give your hard-earned money to someone in need. He may convict you to pledge a tithe of money you don’t have, so you have to depend upon Him to provide that offering. He may urge you to work in the nursery, when you have no maternal instincts, or teach boys when you know nothing about relating to them. He may call you to service doing the laundry of an elderly couple. He may request your help in front of the congregation or behind the scenes. He may suggest you to do things that will stretch your abilities, or propose you use abilities you don’t believe you have. Answering his call may even make you very uncomfortable.
You won’t know when He will call or what He will ask you to do. The job may be big or small, life altering, or simple to accomplish. Of this, however, you can be certain: He will call. You can also be assured that if you say “Yes” to God’s call He will be there beside you all the way, no matter what circumstances you may face.
So, when you hear God’s call, and He asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Don’t be afraid to reply, “Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV)
Hello, this is God calling! (© Catherine Hershberger 5/29/21)
About the Author:
Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.