Summary: God calls us in many ways and we need to listen for His voice. your life... and you'll hear the BAT QOL- the voice of God. You will hear our Lord's voice, comforting, challenging, and calling you to lose yourself in the Master's service. Indeed, unless we "leave our nets" and follow Him, it's hard to see how we can call ourselves Christian. Listen... to your tears listen to those things that stir your spirit to anger- and you will hear the BAT QOL. Listen... for God's voice in the stillness of your mind. Listen... to Scripture as it reveals who you are and who you can become. Listen... to the closing and opening of doors in your life; listen... to the people who know you best and listen... to those whom you hardly know because God may be calling you through them. Listen.... because God is calling you just as plainly as He called Cephas and Andrew and the "sons of thunder," and what is more: He is calling you to serve Him just as passionately as they did.

In "church speak" we talk about a "Common call" that we all share. For instance, we are all called (in Bonhoeffer's words) to "come and die" for Christ. We're all called to invest the talent we have been given in our Lord's service. As Micah noted (chapter 6), we're all called "to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God." Jesus said that we are called (even commanded) to love one another as He has loved us, and if we take Matthew 25 seriously, we're also called to care for Christ as we see Him in need. We're all called to be good stewards and we're all called to be "priest" to one another and to a broken world. Finally, although we share many other calls in common, we are all called to be holy- to live AS IF Christ is our Lord- and to turn our backs on the cacophony of voices that clamor for our worship and allegiance.

We are all called to do these things, but within the context of our common call, each of us receives a personal call on our private number (I used to say private "line." but that is hopelessly dated now). In any event, as unique creations, we are called to serve God in different ways. We have different "gifts," different "stories," and different "passions," and if we use our individual gifts for the "common good," the entire body is strengthened. God called Noah to build a boat; He called Moses to "deliver His people;" and He called Jonah to give more "grace" than Jonah wanted to give. Likewise, God called the demoniac whom He healed to "return home," and He called Zacchaeus to join Him for dinner. In our own church family, God has called a couple of you to keep this old building in good repair, some of you to serve Him as liturgists on Sundays; some of you to sing songs of praise; some of you to visit the sick; some of you to feed the hungry; some of you to ministries of fellowship; and a few of you to spiritual leadership. We have been blessed with different gifts and more than a few of you are using your gifts for Christ through our ministries. God is on the line (there I go again), calling of us to ministry.... so why are so many hanging back? What keeps some people from answering God's call?

Well, there are many reasons.

1) Some people simply do not want to pay the price! They know that God has asked them to consider the costs of saying "yes," so they say "no." Like the rich ruler, they weigh what they have against what God may ask from them, and they let the phone ring.

2) Some people don't answer God's call because they are afraid of the unknown. It isn't so much that they've weighed the cost of following Jesus as it is that they can't be sure of where Jesus will lead them. I heard of one woman who never volunteered for anything at church. Finally her pastor asked her "why," and she said, "I don't raise my hand because God might send me to Africa as a missionary."

3) Some people can't tell the difference between God's voice, the world's voice,, or even their own voice. Everything seems to "ding" nowadays and it is easy to get confused. Is God calling me to join the choir, or is He calling me to spend more time at home? Am I hearing God's voice, my wife's voice, the pastor's voice, or my own?

4 Some people don't answer God's call because they have faulty expectations. Like the man who will not write a book until the great American novel just comes to him, some people believe that God always speaks in grand ways. They forget that God has always called men and women from the ordinariness of their lives and that He specializes in calling people whom others would least suspect.

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