1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
2 Cor 4:5-12
To say that God calls a person is to make the point that the initiative comes from God – it is not simply our own desire or decision to pursue a particular course of action. And the idea of a call suggests an invitation to respond – there remains the possibility of saying no. Throughout the history covered by the Bible and the Church many people have been called by God to fulfil various specific roles or tasks. The basic understanding is that God seeks to do something and calls on people for assistance. These people become God’s instruments. This then calls for humility, faithfulness to the task, dedication and commitment on their part. As Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Pride in one’s learning, skill or ability; success in the eyes of the community count for little, it is what God in Christ accomplishes through us that matters. Yes, God uses our abilities, training, planning and preparation, but the initiative always lies with God. It is easy to fall into the usual way of thinking and to assume that the work of God depends upon us, when the primary agent is God. The fundamental call of Christ is to follow him in kingdom living – a life based on trust in God, God’s law and God’s salvation – the call to be his disciple. But Christ calls his disciples to fulfil other roles and tasks as well. The church recognizes that there are specific ministries to which God calls people, but there are other ventures as well where a sense of call may be experienced: marriage, parenthood, job or occupation, location, church or community service. It makes a difference whether we approach these decisions with a sense of call or whether we see ourselves as the primary agents making these decisions.
- What strikes you most forcibly about the call of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-20)?
- God’s call does not always come as clearly as it did to Samuel. How else can God’s call come?
- What difference does it make if we approach a course of action as a call from God or not?
- What do you think is meant by Bonhoeffer’s quote: when Christ calls anyone, that person is called to come and die?