The Call of God
John Telgren

For some it comes like a loud thunder as in the case of Isaiah. Sometimes it strikes you dead in your tracks and causes you to completely switch directions in life as in the case of Paul. For others, it may come in the sound of sheer silence as in the case of Elijah. The call of God comes to people in different ways. Everyone can serve the Lord whether they have a clear sense of "calling" from God or not. But what a difference it makes when your life, ministry, and activity all proceed as a result of the call of God on your life. For myself, it was more like the sound of sheer silence. I didn't have some "mountaintop experience," a "tragedy" or something like that that I can point to as a "call" on my life. It began with a simple teenager sharing the Gospel with me and the passion God put in my bones to serve him. I have always been most energized when sharing the Gospel with a lost person whom God loves. It is fulfilling to come alongside a new Christian as he discovers the goodness, beauty, and wonder of God. In a sense, I rediscover this as I continue to fulfill his call. But it wasn't like a giant finger came from the sky and pointed at me and said, "I want you." Nevertheless, the call of God was still clear in my life.

Sure I struggled with that call. Sometimes I thrived on recognition more than on God's Spirit. Sometimes I wanted to run and do something else. Sometimes it was more about what I wanted to do rather than where God leads me. Sometimes I have been too timid or too guarded for the sake of avoiding hardship, conflict, and danger. But I am reminded that God called Isaiah to walk around naked for three years, that the call of Jeremiah led to him being thrown into a well, that God called Amos, a simple herdsman to prophesy to the elite even though it was an unpopular message, that the call of God led Paul to being stoned and left for dead. They struggled too, but faithfully fulfilled their calling. They decided to be God's man. Some overcame the Goliath's that threatened God's flock, others were persecuted and left for dead. All of them were faithful regardless of the outcome God foresaw.

What is God calling you to do? How does he want you to serve him? Maybe you had a burning bush type of experience. Perhaps, like Elijah, it comes to you in the stillness of the moment when you sense it with crystal clarity. Perhaps, during prayer time, or Bible reading time, God reaches out and grabs you. It doesn't matter how old, young, smart, or stupid you are. Moses was 80 years old when he received God's call. Jeremiah thought he was too young. Amos was a simple and uneducated herdsman. Paul was an overzealous Pharisee. Peter had foot-in-mouth disease. Daniel was basically a slave. Joseph was a prisoner. Jacob was a deceiver. Abram worshipped pagan gods. And the list goes on and on. It does not matter who you are, what matters is the kind of God we serve and your willingness to be faithful to the Lord. Perhaps God is calling you to shepherd the flock of God. Perhaps you have demonstrated the characteristics that god has laid out that show your suitability for this kind of ministry. Maybe God is calling you take the Gospel to those who have never heard it. Maybe God is calling you to preach or to teach. Maybe God is calling you to move out of your comfort zone. Whatever the case may be, don't be like Jonah and run the other way, but be like Isaiah who said, "Here am I, send me!"