Summary: This sermon addresses the topic of what it means to be called by God. We are called to follow, to serve, to holiness.
Called to Basin Theology
Although the texts we read come from various places in the Bible they have a number of things in common.
For one thing, they each emphasize that God is concerned about his creation, in particular you and me. There is no aspect of our life that does not matter to God. God loves the world and every person is precious in his sight.
Not only is God concerned about his creation, he interacts with it. Our God is not withdrawn from his people but is involved with them.
God’s love and concern for his creation leads God to call people to help fulfill his purposes in the world. In fact, when we identify ourselves as “Christians” it is one way of saying that we have heard and responded to this call of God.
In 1 Samuel 3, we read of how God called the young Samuel while he was sleeping near the holy altar. Can you think of a better place to be?
In the passage from the Gospel John 1, Jesus extended a call to Philip and his friend Nathaniel.
Shortly afterwards, Jesus would call each of the apostles.
Jesus’ call did not stop here. It continued to those who became the early church and continued down through the centuries until it was issued to you and me.
You have been called. (Turn to your neighbor and say…. You’ve been called) For your see, that is what our God does. He is in the calling business.
(Turn to your neighbor and say, “I’ve been called.”
Having heard God’s call, does this mean that we must now go and find a seminary and, as the old timers used to say, “go to preaching?”
Are we now required to leave our homes and families and travel to some distant, forgotten part of the world and pass out gospel tracts and eventually die of jungle fever?
Indeed, responding to God’s call may lead us to do some things we had not counted on but this is not at the heart of what it means to be called by God.
Well then, what does it mean to be “called?”
In John 1:43 we are told that as Jesus was preparing to leave Galilee he found Philip and said to him, “Come. Follow me.” Eventually Philip and Nathaniel and Peter and Andrew and all the other disciples would accept Jesus’ call and would “follow.” When God calls us, it is an invitation to becomes “followers” of Jesus.
In his book None of These Diseases, S.I. McMillen tells a story of a young woman who desperately wanted to go to a particular college. When the application for admission arrived, her heart sank when she read one unexpected question. The form asked quite directly, "Are you a leader?"
She struggled with this question for some time but being both honest and conscientious, she finally wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."[i]
When it comes to being a Christian, there is but one leader and his name is Jesus. When we respond to his call it means that we follow him; making him our Lord, our savior, our mentor, our guide; our teacher.
But the call of God does not stop here.
This call to “come and follow” carries with it an invitation “to become like Jesus.” We are called to a life of servant ministry.”
We see this in the life of the young Samuel. In the very first verse of 1 Samuel 3, we are introduced to Samuel with the words: Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli.”
He was being a servant to God and someone else was giving him direction.
Three times God called out to Samuel and when Samuel finally realized who it was speaking to him he responded with the words: Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.
God’s call to Samuel was to serve God right were he was. Latter he would go to other places. He would anoint future kings but at that particular moment his call was to serve God where he was and through the work he was already doing. Let us not over glamorize what he was doing. He was a servant boy who ran errands for an old, overweight, blind priest.
When we realize that we are called by God not only to follow Jesus but to serve others it will have an effect on what we do everyday in our job. It will influence how we interact and treat our co-workers and customers. It was help us to know how to treat those persons who work for us. Recognizing that we have been called to serve will guide us in what we do at school and how we treat our fellow students.