Summary: We must be willing to take risks if we are to follow God’s will and call on our lives.
“Do We Really Want To Hear What God Has To Say?”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
In both our Gospel Lesson and our Old Testament Lesson for this morning we are confronted with the call of God.
In John both Philip and Nathanael hear the voice of God in Jesus Christ and become His followers.
Of course, this is a life-long commitment that will bring them great satisfaction and everlasting glory, but many difficulties as well.
In following the call of God on their lives Philip and Nathanael will have to go against the grain of the world.
They will have to make a stand against injustice, oppression, discrimination, and the old way of doing things.
They won’t fit in much with the rest of the world.
They are taking a big chance, a big risk, but it is a chance…it is a risk they are willing to make.
I remember hearing about an interview a friend of mine saw with a woman who had lived well into her 100’s.
The interviewer had asked her, “Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would do differently with your life if you had it to do over again?”
The woman answered: “Yes. I would take more risks.”
We do take a big risk when we listen to what God is calling us to do in this life, and then act on it.
Some of us face the risk of losing our jobs.
Others face the risk of losing friends, maybe even family members.
When I became a Christian I remember a friend saying to me: “If I did something like that my parents would kill me.”
A colleague told me that he was dating a young woman when he heard God calling him to go into the ministry.
When he told her about his call, and that he was planning on taking God up on it the woman immediately broke off their relationship.
There is almost always risk involved when we listen to the voice of God because we are being forced to take a stand between what is right and what is convenient.
I remember as a kid, one of my older sisters asking me, point blank: “Do you make friends with and sit next to the kids in school that are unpopular? The kids that other people either alienate or make fun of?”
I was pretty young when she asked me this, and still very innocent. Just a nice kid at that point, so my answer was “Yes.”
She responded: “I know it is the right thing to do, but I don’t have the nerve to do it.”
Knowing that there is risk involved…an element of danger even…
Do we really want to hear what God has to say to us?
In our Old Testament Lesson for this morning in 1st Samuel we are told that “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”
Sounds like a rather dull time to be alive.
Now, I don’t take this to mean that God wasn’t speaking…
…that God wasn’t calling folks just like He always has and continues to do today…
…I think it means that it was rare that folks were interested in or willing to hear what God had to say.
And as a result of not listening to the voice of God the people were living in a very dark period of history.
It was a time of much corruption and greed.
There was a certain meanness in the air…a certain selfishness.
It was a time of spiritual desolation, religious corruption, personal immorality, political danger, and social upheaval.
And although Eli, the priest was around, he was old and sick and he no longer held the influence and respect he once had.
Also, his sons were corrupt, and people had no respect for them.
In chapter 2 verse 12 we are told that “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord.”
Who would take Eli’s place as spiritual leader in Israel?
Who would be willing to hear and heed the call of God?
We might ask that same question this morning.
Are we, willing to hear and heed the call of God on our lives?
Are we willing to take the risk and make a positive difference in this world?
Thank God for the folks who have been willing to take that risk in the past.
The disciples lit up with enthusiasm as they were called from their various tasks in order to follow Jesus.
And their response was catchy, was it not?
Not only were they called to follow Christ, but they in turn were used by God to call others to follow Him as well.