I remember when I was real little, I would be in the neighborhood playing and my momma would call me in for dinner. Some parents had special calls for their children: one mother had a bell she would ring, another father had a whistle, my momma would simply yell out loud, “Jan~~~~~~D”…..and in all the cases we would hear the call and go running home for dinner. What if you heard God, indeed Jesus, calling you? He probably has a unique way to call out your name that you would surely recognize. Have you felt recently a tug in your heart?………It’s God calling……..
Mark 3:13-15 (TNIV)
13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.
The first time I felt Jesus calling me; it was simply out of my world to a faith in Him. There was a growing desire in my heart to get to know Him, to listen to His wisdom and to understand Him. If you know Jesus……do you remember that time in your life and do you remember your response? If you don’t know Jesus, have you felt something in your heart and mind that is calling you closer…..if so, don’t hesitate…..just go closer. It is at this point in life that I believe that we realize that we NEED Jesus. The key is, we still have a choice…..the right choice is to respond to Him and answer him with, “Yes Lord, I need you!”
Interestingly enough, I listened the first time, then got lost again in my life and Jesus kept calling me out of my muck…..I responded again, and again. Looking back, I see that I should have responded more wholeheartedly and surrendered the first time…..the key is….Jesus kept pursuing me. Have you experienced this in your life? When will you start listening to His call in your heart and answer…..
Do you want to hear God? The first step, I believe is to listen to and start to live His words that come to us through the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 29:13 (TNIV)
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This verse means so much to me that I hope to have it tattooed on my forearm sometime soon!
I remember the second time I felt Jesus calling me….He was calling me to service. Jesus called me to start living His Word….to love people around me. This, of course, wasn’t so easy….but Jesus gave me the strength I needed, as I lived in His classroom, to learn and apply these lessons. I started by helping the elderly and the poor, and those around me that needed Him in their lives (though sometimes they weren’t even that aware that they needed Him….they just couldn’t figure out what was missing in their lives). When you hear Jesus calling you to service in His name, it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you are doing, he has a place for you. If you need to move…He is there to help. If you need to upgrade your skills, you will be in His classroom and he will teach you. Just be sensitive to His voice in your life.
When Jesus calls you to service, it is not always to a ministry vocation, indeed, He calls most of us to His service OUTSIDE the vocation of ministry. The key is, He will let you know…….answer the call in prayer and thoughtful contemplation, answer the call seriously and consult your friends or others that have also answered the call. The key is……answer the call with, “I love you Lord…I am here and I am willing. I will follow you. Teach me, mold me, and shape me.”
I would point out that just like in Mark 3:15 above, when Jesus calls, if you are sensitive to his presence and are willing to learn in His classroom, he will, by the power of His Spirit inside you, provide you with all that you need to go out. Keep in mind that when Jesus called these twelve disciples, all people like you and me, they still needed coaching, practice and above all….time to mature. We must be willing to spend the time to learn from the Master, Jesus, before we go forward to do His work in public. That means often that we need to be in His classroom and work on ourselves…. and in time…..we will have the skills to serve with the authority that comes from Him.
This brings me to Isaiah 6:8…..my life verse. Embrace Jeremiah 29:13 and you just may experience Isaiah 6:8!
Isaiah 6:8 (TNIV)Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
This verse also mans a lot to me…..so much so that I had it tattooed on my shoulder!
As I have said before, Jesus doesn’t call the qualified….he qualifies the called. Has he called you or Is he calling you?