Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for January 17, 2021; Second Sunday after the Epiphany
1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20); Psalm 139:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel! Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
Wow, to have the Lord speak to us as he did Samuel! To Samuel, God’s voice must have been so audible. So much so that three times it made Samuel get up from his bed and run to Eli, thinking it was Eli who was calling him. Oh to hear God’s voice so clearly in our lives!?!?
To be honest, I believe he does. Oh, maybe not with a voice so clear as what Samuel heard. But, I believe and am convinced that at different times and for different reasons, our gracious God does talk to the hearts of his children. In Samuel’s case, God shared with Samuel what was going to happen with Eli’s family. The news wasn’t for Samuel. Samuel was just the instrument through whom God revealed his news. In the same way, I have witnessed many times, how God, the Holy Spirit, speaks to his children’s hearts. How he lays on your heart a desire so strong that it takes you by surprise. In many cases, this desire to do some particular thing, although loving and/or harmless, seems very strange and off the wall, and if you were to just consider it a random thought, you’d most likely dismiss it and say something like, “Well, that was strange.” However, if you actually stopped and heeded the words of Eli to Samuel, “…if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,’” (1 Samuel 3:9) then you may be part of something life altering and faith strengthening. You may in fact see God work a miracle through you for either yourself or someone else.
I have either experienced myself or heard faith stories of others where God called one of his children to do something, such as take some sugar to a random person, to pull into a total stranger’s driveway to comment on a window decoration, to request a business woman to be a babysitter for her children, to give a neighbour one of the meals that was made to be frozen, to call a distant acquaintance to have coffee, to drive down a different street than normal to get to your regular destination, to have dinner at McDonald’s, and the list can go on and on. On their own, we can brush each act off as if it was a pesky fly buzzing around your heart and mind. However, if you stopped and actually consider the random thought and desire on your heart to be a request from God to be his instrument for someone else in their time of need- an answer to their prayer- wouldn’t you pay more attention to its nagging.
For you see, in each of the above situations, the person to whom God was speaking was his instrument to bless the recipient of the act. It wasn’t just that someone needed a cup of sugar, or the window decoration was all that meaningful, or McDonald’s was the preferred restaurant choice. But in each case there was a person in anguish, in need, and God used his children to be his arms and voice to them when no one knew what was happening in their lives. In each case, each person left their comfort zone, they denied what the world would say and what their own mind was telling them, and they followed through with God’s call even though they didn’t understand why God would have them do such a thing. In fact, we do not need to fear such callings because we have the assurance that if God is calling, it will be okay, even if it seems like we’re doing something unthinkable or inconveniencing. Yes, if it is from God, it will be good. Let us not be afraid but, instead, think on Jesus. For Jesus endured the ultimate unthinkable and most inconveniencing act of all.
Therefore, when the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart and you willingly listen, no matter how crazy you think the request is, you are always allowing yourself to be in the front row seat of a miracle. So, as you start this day and this year, open your heart and your ears to hear and to heed God calling you to listen to him, and to follow him to be his arms and voice of love for someone else whom you may not even know yet. In the end, they will be blessed, your faith will be strengthened and you can be sure God will say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be like Samuel and to listen when you call me to love others, even when it seems out of the ordinary or is not part of my plans for the day. Please forgive me for the times when I didn’t listen to your calling. Christ has done the unthinkable for me and all people despite what the world thought. Give me the strength and courage to follow through when you call me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!