“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1 – God’s call to Abram).
I wonder how we would react if we received such a call – not just a call to take up a particular vocation but a call to leave all the familiar surroundings, our relatives and friends and go into the dark unknown? These days there are not too many ‘dark unknown’ places to which we might be called, twenty-first century knowledge has opened up most of the world. However I’m sure that the greatest concern would be to leave family and friends. Yet God’s promises to Abram gave him confidence to leave his home and his people and enter the promised land. At an advanced age this represented quite a challenge to Abram.
I suggest that not a day goes past when we are not called by God to undertake some service, be it minor like contacting a sick or lonely person, or major like Abram, leaving home and friends. God communicates with those willing to listen and we need to be prepared for the Lord to work at any place, at any time, and through anyone he chooses.
So what does God call his people to do? He calls us to serve Him and to represent Him in the world around us. Brother Andrew explained it thus: “At the spiritual level, planning means taking the initiative. It’s not about sitting around until you are absolutely certain God is calling you to a particular task, direction, country, or ministry. Nor is it waiting for the doors to open so you can go there easily. Planning is an act of faith. Jesus never told his disciples to wait for an invitation. He told them to go.”
We all have favourite verses in the Scriptures, some have motivated me specifically to undertake certain tasks. At a difficult time in my life a friend directed me to 1 Corinthians 15:58 – a verse that changed my life in many ways and gave me the purpose to go forward in my Christian service. On a worldly scale those purposes, although minor, proved to be important.
But one man, a university professor, received a call, just like Abram, a call of monumental proportions. Late one evening he sat at his desk working on the next day’s lectures. He shuffled through the papers and mail placed there by his housekeeper. He began to throw them in the wastebasket when one magazine–not even addressed to him but delivered to his office by mistake–caught his attention. It fell open to an article titled “The Needs of the Congo Mission.”
The professor began reading it idly, but then he was consumed by these words: “The need is great here. We have no one to work the northern province of central Congo. And it is my prayer as I write this article that God will lay His hand on one–one on whom, already, the Master’s eyes have been cast–that he or she shall be called to this place to help us.” The professor closed the magazine and wrote in his diary: “My search is over.” He gave himself to go to the Congo.
The professor’s name was Albert Schweitzer. That little article, hidden in a periodical intended for someone else, was placed by accident in Schweitzer’s mailbox. By chance his housekeeper put the magazine on the professor’s desk. By chance he noticed the title, which seemed to leap out at him. Dr. Schweitzer became one of the great figures last century in a humanitarian work nearly unmatched in human history. Chance? No. Providence.
Listen for God’s call. If there are a thousand steps between us and God, He will take all but one. He will leave the final one for us. The choice is ours.
Have a good week, Pastor Ron
Optional Bible reading: Hebrews 11:8-19.
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-sixth year, originating from Gympie, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email send here with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions. Pastor Ron Clarke OAM Word for the Week Mbl.: +61 488 424 321