Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17
I want to talk share with you some thoughts on God's call to us and our response. The call of the prophet Jeremiah provides the text for this reflection.
Listening to the stories of God's calling the prophets can be a mixed bag. One aspect of these stories I almost envy is the clarity of God's call. For example, God's hand put words in Jeremiah's mouth. For Isaiah God cleansed his lips with a burning coal. For Samuel God spoke to him directly when he was sleeping. And of course Saul the persecutor of Christians was struck blind on the road to Damascus and forced to spend three days in a cave before God's call became clear to him. On the one hand, wouldn't it be terrific if our vocations, our calling came as clearly as these did? On the other hand most of us won't suffer the stoning, torture and execution these prophets did so we can at least be thankful for that.
If we read the Bible and expect that God's call to us should be instantaneous, powerful and dramatic like the prophets, we are likely to be disappointed. Keep in mind that these stories were developed to quickly convey the story of God's relationship with a people. More likely, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel and Saul all had long, gradual conversions as they steadily became aware of God's calling for them. Such stories do not make great reading and do not easily win converts. Instead of the reality of the gradual call, what we find in the Bible are snappy, attention grabbing stories that quickly establish the authority and credibility of the prophets and apostles as being just what the story claims.
So let's set straight the first fallacy about God's call – God's call is seldom instantaneous.
The next element of God's call involves clarity. Wouldn't it be nice for God to tell you "Shirley you are going to be a doctor working with refugees in Africa"? If God spoke to you in such clear, direct terms ...
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