1997-01-16 - The Calling
What is it to be called? In the legal arena, you may be called to testify as to what you know about a topic or an incident. You would be presented with a subpoena by the court to appear before that court. In the spiritual arena, special qualifications mean nothing. The Apostle Paul was a very learned man with impressive credentials enough to wallpaper an office. He was called by Jesus Christ directly on the road to Damascus. Blinded for three days time, there was not denying that something powerful had happened to Paul. And in the court where Paul had stood, he knew that all his personal accomplishments where ashes and refuse before the God of all creation.
Paul had first hand experience with the fact that Heaven's values and the values of this world are opposite and opposed. His own education had to be scraped and relearned. After he met the disciples in Jerusalem, Paul was out of the picture for a period of time. Before he left, he would meet the Apostles. They were fishermen and tax collectors by trade. And yet they would speak with authority and power that the Doctors of the Law had never known.
1 Cor 1:26-29 - For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God. (NAS)
Just as God had sent His Son to the world through a peasant girl, not a princess; in a stable manger, not a palace bed; and sent Him and honor guard of shepherds, not soldiers, the world can not understand. And likewise, God chooses you and me living our everyday lives to cross paths with others. Praise God for the work of many of the Pastors and evangelists that regularly use the mass media for the Kingdom. And Dr Billy Graham also has done two massive globe encompassing outreaches for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. But even then, there are individuals waiting to pray with those who want prayer and answer questions they may have. The world rarely has such caring.
Eph 4:1-7 - I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. (NAS)
We are entreated here to walk worthy of the call that Christ has placed on our lives. And we are given the means to do so. Humility and gentleness have a dignity that the world can not understand and never match. Humanity honors their champions who hold their heads high. It is easier to reach out with a helping hand when we do not have to look down our noses at others to see them. Verses 2 and 3 couple with a reminder that we so often make our children memorize and we forget ourselves:
John 13:35 - "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (NAS)
It is the essence of the Christian life distilled into a very few words. There is a message to the gospel, the good news, that God has come to the world to seek and to save that which has rebelled against Him, not counting their sins against them. But many encounters are so fleeting that words are never exchanged. While it is very true that we should always be prepared to give an answer for the faith within us, actions speak louder than words. When true love and caring are displayed between people, the difference is like light streaming through a diamond in a dark room. It compels you to look at the colors and the fiery display of dancing light. Likewise, the gray din of this age will be torn away by the power of the light of agape love that Christian brothers and sisters have for each other. It is compelling, and opens doors. Maybe not for you. You may never know. The unworldly difference will be burned into their memory. And down the line, somewhere, they will see it again. And the love that we have, the agape, is something that can not be contained. It will spill into the life of the individual who is not compelled to ask. That is the essence and the difference. To be diamonds in the rough, reflecting the love of Jesus Christ, in a dark, dark world. That is our calling.
Lord Jesus, we know that you have promised to finish in us the good work that you have started. Love is the foundation, your agape, perfectly unselfish love, of that work. Please fill us that we may overflow to our brothers and sisters, and the all of us to the world around us. Amen.