The Baffling Call of God
Jesus said, "For many are called, but few are chosen."1
One of my big struggles as a young man was how could I know if God were calling me to serve him in some kind of Christian work. However, as I look back I can see that had God not been calling me, I wouldn't have been struggling with the question.
I never did find an easy answer to that question. The best answer I found was in the words of Oswald Chambers who said, "The call of God is like the call of the sea to the sailor. Only he who has the nature of the sea within can hear the call."
In other words, a man who is "born to be a sailor" hears in his inner being the call of the sea and never rests until he answers that call and sets out on the high seas. It's the same with a man or woman who is called of God. He or she will never rest until they answer God's call.
For me, God had to get me on my back to make me slow down enough to "hear" his call. I had an accident on a construction site that put me in the hospital flat on my back for a week. The day after they stitched me up, I turned on my bedside radio and just "happened" to get the only religious program for the entire day on any station in the city where I lived. The moment my radio came on, I heard a lady quoting the words of the poem:
"If I should stand before the Master [Jesus Christ] today, would I empty handed go?"
Wham! I felt like an invisible arrow pierced my heart and I "heard the call loud and clear." I prayed, "Okay, God, you win. My answer is yes." The moment I said yes to God, I knew exactly what my next step needed to be—that was to go back to college to train for the work I am doing today.
Indeed, the call of God is like the call of the sea to the sailor. And God calls each one of us—some to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and to receive God's forgiveness and gift of eternal life. Some he is calling to serve in a local church as an active lay person. Some to be a good neighbor. Some to be a missionary, pastor, teacher, a local leader, a politician, or a business person. Some to be a wife, a husband, a parent, etc., etc. Whatever it is, God has a calling for each of us. It's up to us to seek God's guidance to discover what that call is—and get the training we need to do it as best we can.
Perhaps we could interpret today's text as, "Many are called but few prove themselves to be chosen ones."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You are calling me to love and follow You, and to use the gifts and talents You have given to me to serve You. Help me to discover exactly what You want me to do. Please give me a "listening" ear so I will hear Your call. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Jesus (Matthew 22:14).