LIVING UNDER A CALL
And Amaziah said to Amos, "O seer, go , flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy (here) at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom."
Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'"
Amos was an ordinary guy like you and me, his own business, watching over his sheep and trimming his sycamore trees. Then one day God breaks into his life with a call. Suddenly Amos's days of serenity are over. Now he's got to fit into God's program. His life is no longer his own.
"I'm glad that never happened to me," you say. "I'm glad I can still do what I choose, live my life in peace, go to church once-in-a-while, say my prayers, give a helping hand here and there."
Who would want to be in Amos' shoes? Or Moses' shoes. Eighty years old and all of a sudden his life is turned upside down. And how about John the Baptist? John had no choice but to speak God's word to a sleazy King Herod; and next thing you know, they chop off his head!
I'm sure glad God never zapped me like he did those guys!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
Chose us……destined us.
Once Jesus hits the scene the call of God is no longer limited to the occasional prophet. Now the call of God invades your life and mine, and every one who comes within earshot of his Living Word. Once you've really heard it, you're under a call!
The problem is that most of us have never been taught what it means to be called by God, and to live under that call. No doubt every person reading this has, at some point had the thought, "Yes, I've been put here for a purpose. I'm not just a blob taking up space…….But what is it? What is my calling?"
And who of us has not cried out to God, "What do you want from me? Show me!" Many of us are still trying to figure out exactly how we fit into the plan. And that's where Jesus comes in…
Jesus did not come here to start a new religion. He did not come here to establish "Christianity." He came here to put each person who hears his voice under a call.
He sees Peter and Andrew casting their net into the sea. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." They follow. He walks by Matthew's tax office and says, "Follow me," and Matthew gets up and follows.
"I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
When you follow him --- when you really follow him --- you are answering the call of God.
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and ordained you that you should go and bear fruit."
The issue is not, "Do you believe in the right doctrines?" or "Do you belong to the right church?" No, the issue is, Are you obeying the call of God that's already on your life?
Do you understand what it means to be living under the call of God which has already come to you through the crucified and risen Lord Jesus?
Are you living under that call every day?
When Amos heard the call, he did what he had to do.
When Moses heard the call, he did what he had to do.
When Jonah heard the call, he tried to run away. He boarded a ship for Spain and started sailing west. But the call followed him with a vengeance.
Once you understand that your life is under a call from God, the smartest thing to do, the best thing to do, is to say, "Okay, Lord. Here I am. Show me the way!"
When you say, "Show me the way," you probably won't hear a voice or see a vision. But things will start to happen that will confirm the call and guide you forward. Here are four things that I have found helpful in my life, and you might find helpful too --- four things to say to yourself every day:
1. I have been called by God.
2. I have been put in the place where I am by God.
3. I am now being empowered by the indwelling Christ.
4. I will bear fruit to his glory as I walk with him.
I have been called by God.
Called to fit into his program instead of my own. That's what Jesus is all about. He's the one who hires laborers for the Vineyard. He's the one who sends out the harvesters. His personal message to each of us is, "I have work for you to do in my kingdom. Get to know me, and I'll show you what it is."
Now there's a call on your life. And every time you try to ignore it and run away from it like Jonah, strange things happen to remind you of that call. It seems like you can't get away from it. It hounds you. And every time you seek to follow the Spirit's leading the light comes on, and you begin to see what your job is in his program.
I have been put in the place where I am by God.
Instead of grumbling because I wasn't born to rich parents, or because I'm not the mayor of Honolulu, I accept the place where I am. My present circumstances are my assigned "base of action," the place of ministry where God has put me.
So I'm not sitting around waiting for God to send me somewhere else. This is where I'm supposed to be for now. This is where the Master has sent me to work for him, to fit into his plan, to speak for him.
"You did not choose me but I chose you and ordained you that you should go and bear fruit."
Right here in this town, among the people you already know and the people you will meet this week --- this is your spot in God's Vineyard. Phone calls. Chance meetings. The people God has put into your "bundle" to pray for. There's plenty to do right here where you have been put.
I am now being empowered by the indwelling Christ.
Like Amos, I'm not a prophet. I'm just an ordinary person. But the God who called me is putting something inside me which isn't me. It's straight out of heaven. It's the Spirit of the Lord Jesus himself.
Christ in me, the hope of glory.
I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
He is my power. Not me... Christ in me. I'm the earthen vessel. He's the heavenly treasure, and he is here, in me! When I yield to his leadings, which are always mercy, always true, always holy, always right --- I can do anything he wants done. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
He is my health.
He is my sanity.
He is my wisdom.
He is my power.
He is my true wealth.
Christ in me! What an awesome gift!
The main reason why we gather together week by week is to get that gift renewed. You are not doing God a favor by gathering with other believers. You are doing yourself a favor. You are getting renewed. If you think you can get along without it, God bless you. I know I can't.
I will bear fruit to his glory as I walk with him.
Things are going to happen through me that will last forever. Because he's the one doing them --- through me. People will be given hope. Eyes will open. Paralyzed and sin-bound souls will find freedom, because Christ in me will set them free.
We're not talking about being on some spiritual ego trip. We're talking about the living Lord Jesus fulfilling his word through ordinary people like you and me. We're talking about miracles following you around so matter-of-factly that you don't even see them. But lives you touch are being delivered and blessed by Christ through you.
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and ordained you, that you should go and bear fruit that will last forever."
That's what it means to live under a call:
To know that you’ve been called by God.
To know that you have been placed where you are by God.
To know that you are being empowered by the Christ who indwells you.
To know that you will bear fruit to his glory as you walk with him.
Now you may decide, like Jonah, to run away from your call, to go out there and forget all about it and live your own life. You are free to do that. But it's not as easy as you may think. That call will follow you for quite a while --- before it fades forever.
God give us ears to hear and hearts to respond, while it is day --- before night comes when no one can work.