Summary: This morning I want to look at the life of Samuel because his life is a good example of what ministry is all about. And I’m taking about ministry that takes place in the life of ordinary, everyday people... people just like you and me.
THE CALL OF GOD
I read the legend of a man who found the barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart. And he discovered that there were more seeds of discouragement than any other kind. He also learned that these seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere.
But when Satan was questioned about this he admitted, reluctantly, that there was one place he could never get them to thrive. "And where is that," the man replied. Satan replied sadly, "In the heart of a grateful person."
I think there may be a lot of truth to that story...and since this is Thanksgiving week, like many of you, I spent some time reflecting on the many things I have to be thankful for. And most of those things that quickly come to mind center on my family.
Someone once said that marriage is like eating with chopsticks...it looks easy until you try it. And although it isn’t always easy I am so thankful that I am married to that woman over there I call my wife.
And she is more than just someone I am married to. She’s my partner... my best friend...my critic and fan all in one...she’s my lover and my helper...and she’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.
I am also thankful for my children. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t realize how blessed I am because of those four children. I can’t imagine life without them...and I know that I have been given one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to man.
I am also thankful for my church family. My life has been forever touched and changed...for good, because God has blessed me with you. Each of you have impacted me in many ways...some have greatly encouraged me...others have taken me deeper into prayer - which is good...but I love you and am so glad to be able to be part of this church family.
But besides my family, personal and extended, the thing for which I thank God the most is His call on my life. Nothing, without exception, has impacted my life in such a dramatic way as God’s specific call to full-time ministry. Serving God is the greatest experience in life.
This morning I want to look at the life of Samuel because his life is a good example of what ministry is all about. And I’m taking about ministry that takes place in the life of ordinary, everyday people... people just like you and me.
READ 1 Samuel 3:1-10
There is something both fascinating and frightening about the story of the boy Samuel. We all know that fascinating parts: his birth that came as a direct result of fervent prayer...his being "lent to the Lord," as his mother stated it.
And when we first find Samuel, we see him serving in the temple as a sort of administrative assistant to the high priest Eli. And our first look at this young man finds him going about his daily work...nothing great or spectacular about that.
And it seems that Samuel did his work well, but it wasn’t because he necessarily wanted to be there...and not even because he knew in his heart that this is where he shouldƒ` be.
His service in the temple was not a response to some sense of his own calling...or even to some special relationship with God. In fact, our passage tells us that Samuel, at this time, didn’t even know the Lord ...that the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
The fact of the matter was, Samuel was there because someone put him there...and he was doing what he did simply because he was told to do it. He was fulfilling the obligations of his mother...and the expectations of the high priest. And this is simply taking the hand we’re dealt with.
And that is just what most of us have done in life. But here is where the fascination begins...because God chooses to interrupt this boy’s normal and ordinary routine with an invitation to service.
And for me, this is an exciting story because it’s God Himself who introduces this young boy to a whole new vocation. God visits him right in the middle of the ordinary, routine, and predictable circumstances of life and work. And that gives me hope...and it should give you hope too...because most of us here are ordinary, routine, and somewhat predictable people, aren’t we?
And look how this whole thing happened. This was no mountainside manifestation like happened to Moses with the burning bush...it was no great miracle that happened in the middle of the sea like with Jonah or any of the many other dramatic ways God chose to show His power and reveal His will.