Monday, November 10, 2008

Pages from a Preacher's Prayer Book (7)

God’s call (Part A)
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ (Jer. 1 : 4,5)
‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people,’ (Mark 1:17)

However it happened, nothing is more significant about my ministry than my experience of God’s call. Jeremiah, young and inadequate, is called to belong to God even before birth. Abram, rich and successful, is called in later life (Gen 12:1-3); Moses is a runaway fugitive (Exod.3:1-12); Isaiah is shaken within worship (Isaiah 6:1-13); Simon, Andrew, James and John in the middle of their working day (Mark 1:16-20).

God’s spokespeople should never select themselves. Actually, Jeremiah and Moses shrink from the task. Though, in contrast, our stories of call may seem prosaic and confusing yet, by wrestling in prayer, we moved to inner conviction with peace that was then tested and affirmed as others looked at our gifting and vocation. I now look back and I know that it was so. Sometimes I can hardly believe it. God called me into ministry. Incredibly, foreknowing God chose me before I was born.

It is easy to lose heart and direction in the pressures of service - to feel useless and battered. But the foundational truth is: GOD HAS CALLED ME.

I have held onto that truth from the earliest days of ministry. On difficult days I need to recall how it really happened. Awesome and humbling there is no greater reason to be alive and to keep working. Why stoop to do anything else?

A Prayer: I marvel Lord that you chose me. At times I find it hard to understand why. But it happened by your grace. Give me a fresh experience of your love and your special choosing so that I can be my best for you today. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

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