Summary: When God calls, answer.
Press 1 For ……………
Can I see a show of hands for anyone who has had reason to call Nipsco, Verizon, Comcast, or basically any company nowadays? ………Good. What generally happens when you call? ……That’s right! You definitely don’t get a live person, that’s for sure. We get the impression they’re trying to avoid us.
What you get is a recorded voice that tells you to “Press 1 for those of you foolish enough to think you’re actually going to reach a real person.” “Press 2 if you know the extension of the person you wish to talk to…” so you can leave a voicemail because they’re never at their desk anyway. “Press 0 if you wish to speak with the operator”…even though the 0 doesn’t connect you to anybody. And finally, “Press 33 if you really don’t want to talk to anyone…you just like the music we play.”
You all know what I’m talking about because you have lived the touch tone nightmare. And because of that you also know how God feels when he calls one of us to do some type of ministry for him. If he doesn’t get an “I’m too ‘BUSY’” signal, then he gets “Press 1” because we’re trying to avoid him.
God calls us because he wants to be in contact with us. He calls us because he wants to be involved in our lives. God calls us because he needs us. What? I know that sounds odd but it’s true.
We read in the Bible many incredible stories of God’s involvement with his people. The most amazing story is not that God created everything, or that God brought a tremendous flood on the earth, or that God rescued Israel through feats of supernatural power.
No, the most incredible, amazing story is that God needs us. You’re thinking, “No way!” But I say, “Yes way!” Or, if we were Swedish or German, we might say, “Yah weh!”
Now, you might find it hard to believe that the God who created the Milky Way, a galaxy so big it takes a light ray 100,000 years to pass from one end to another and countless other galaxies, would have need of us. But it’s true. The Bible tells us so and, since this is a Bible-believing church, we must believe it.
Moses, Gideon, Solomon, the widow of Zarephath, the disciples, Jeremiah. None of these felt they were capable of doing what God called them to do. When God first called them, they all had a case of “the onlys”. But God needed them.
Moses tells God, “I can’t stand up to Pharaoh. I’m only a shepherd. I can’t even talk good” (Exodus 3:12, 4:1).
Gideon tells God, "I’m only the least in my family," when God calls him to deliver Israel from Midian (Judges 6:15).
Solomon, faced with the challenges of being king like his father tells God: "I am only a little child" (1 Kings 3:7).
When asked for bread and water by Elijah, the widow of Zarephath replied: "I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug" (1Kings 17:12).
The disciples, when told by Jesus to go feed the multitude, protested: "We only have five loaves and two fish" (Matthew 14:17).
Jeremiah, when called by God, tells him: "I am only a boy" (Jeremiah 1:6).
How old was Jeremiah when God called him? Jeremiah’s reply of “I’m too young” probably means he was still in his teens. A teenager! Now parents, when you ask your teenager to take out the trash, or something equally simple, what kind of response do you get? Aww!
I got a similar response from the Confirmands. At the end of each class, I would ask, “Who would like to close in prayer?” They always responded, “You!” Aww!
Jeremiah was saying “aww” to God, using his youth as an excuse. If God came to you and told you to go speak in his name to people he hadn’t even named yet, and that you were not going to be afraid, how would you react? You might say, “no way!” “Yah weh!”
Yahweh knew that Jeremiah needed assurance, so he said to him, “…don’t be afraid of the people for I will be with you and take care of you.” Then God touched his mouth and said, “See, I have put my words in your mouth.”
As we saw with Moses, Gideon, Solomon, et al, the “but I’m only” excuse doesn’t get it. God’s answer is “I’m the only God”. God’s not playing the “Press 1 for ……someone else” game. Plus, when we call Nipsco, Verizon, etc., we often get tired of waiting and hang up. God doesn’t get tired. He’ll keep calling.
And God doesn’t call wrong numbers. God wanted the stuttering Moses. God wanted to feed 5,000 on the ration of five loaves and two fishes. God wanted Jeremiah no matter his age. And God wants us.