When you’re a preacher you get some pretty interesting questions. Particularly from people who are not familiar with the church. One question received several times through the years, especially when we move, has to do with my “calling.”
“When did God call you to preach?”
“How were you called?”
“Did you feel called to move to Texas?”
When I think about being called, I’m reminded of God’s call to Abraham in the Old Testament. God said, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Gen 12:1).
Have you ever thought about how Abraham managed to move?
We’re moving to North Texas next week. And it’s a big job. Getting bids from movers. Packing. Phone calls. Packing. Finding a home. Packing. Changing insurance. Packing. Turning off utilities. Packing. Turning on utilities. Packing. Contacting everyone. Packing. And more packing!
I wonder did Abraham get professional movers? Did he have to do all the packing? I wonder if Sarah packed the good china? Or did she put up a fuss about moving?
Think about moving. Not across town. Or another state. But across the wilderness. With flocks and herds. And servants. And relatives. And all of their possessions. And on what? Ox carts and wagons!
But Abraham accepted the call of God. Listen to what the Hebrew writer said.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb 11:8)
Now, my “call” was not like Abraham’s. It wasn’t direct. Miraculous. Or super natural. I was called by the Gospel as a young man (2 Thess 2:14). And the gospel calls us to good works (Eph 2:10). To be faithful stewards. And to use our talents, abilities and skills to His glory. In that sense, most preachers I know feel “called” to preach the Gospel.
However, there is much we can all learn about God’s call to Abraham.
Abraham was a man of faith. Faith in God. Faith in His promises. Faith in His protection. Faith in His providential care.
But Abraham was also a man of works. Faith works. Faith is active. Notice the verbs that speak of Abraham’s faith. Obeyed. Went. Dwelt. Waited.
And where did Abraham’s faith take him? Well, he didn’t know where! “He went out, not knowing where he was going!” I admit that I didn’t start packing until I knew I was going to Texas.
Abraham was a follower of God. So he went. As a result, he became the father of the Jewish nation. A great patriarch. An example of faith. A hero for the Jewish people until this day.
Along the way Abraham had trials, tests and temptations. He wasn’t perfect. But he was God’s man. He allowed himself to be used by God. And to do what God needed him to do.
Isn’t that true today? Whether living in the same county your whole life, or moving around the country or world, you can be used for God’s purpose. And accomplish His plan. Harold Comer used to tell young preachers, “Boys, don’t get too tied to a piece of dirt.” Good advice! Fortunately, Abraham wasn’t. I need to be a person of faith like him.
While packing, we came across a little gift that a friend gave Norma Jean when we moved from Tampa to Kansas City that read “BLOOM where God plants you.”
That’s my “call.” Whether in Tampa, Florida. Kansas City, Missouri. Or Lewisville, Texas. God, in His providence, can use us to accomplish His purpose in different ways, different places and at different times in our lives.
What about you? Are you answering God’s “call”?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman