When God calls us to salvation He also summons us to serve Him. The great task of winning lost people is simply too urgent to allow anyone to sit on the sideline and watch. Jesus shows us Gods view of this situation when He says, The harvest us plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech (ask, beg) the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest (Mt 9:37, 38). Hes telling us there are lots of people who are searching for God but who dont know how to be saved. He says the reason so many are dying without God is because there are so few people actively telling others about Him. In other words, for more people to be saved there have to be more people doing what God has told them to do. Its tragic to think there are those who would have come if only someone had told them how.
Which brings us to the subject of calling. Each of us is urgently needed in the harvest field. Each of us has been summoned to serve the Lord of the Harvest in a specific place, in a specific way and at a specific time. God has issued a call to each of us and He never changes His mind. He never takes His call back. But sadly many believers go through life unaware of His call. They dont know their assignment and the result is they dont step into the place waiting for them in the harvest field.
Gods unchanging will
God isnt careless. He thinks carefully about what He does before He does it. And He never makes a mistake. He is perfectly wise and good so when He makes a decision its not only the right one, its the only one. Everything else is wrong. So how could He change His mind? Every other option is a step away from what should have been done. And because Hes holy He will only do what is perfectly right. In this verse Paul is applying this truth to the nation of Israel, but it also applies to each one of us.
What does Paul say? (Ro 11:29)
Referring to the unique blessings Israel had enjoyed over its history Paul says when God gives such things He doesnt change His mind. In particular he identifies Israels call (Mt 22:1-14; Lk 14:16-24), which was Gods summons to them to come to salvation and their giftings (charismata) which include such grace-gifts as those he listed earlier (Ro 9:4, 5). Paul tells us that Gods will in these matters does not change. When He gives something He does not take it back, however, at the time many in Israel were demonstrating that it is possible to refuse His call and ignore His gifts, with the result that they received no benefit. Paul wants us to see that Gods summons to Israel still exists and the rich heritage of His blessings, especially the gift of the Messiah, has not been withdrawn, nor will it be.
As we said earlier, when God calls us to salvation He also summons us to serve Him. Thankfully the Bible preserves enough of Pauls own history for us to reconstruct the circumstances of his call:
Romans 1:1; Acts 9:5, 6; 26:14-18; Acts 13:1-3
I cant call myself. Someone else must call me. I only hear the call, I dont generate it. It comes in many different voices, but somehow I know I am doing this because Jesus told me to. This isnt my idea, or someone elses idea, or the logical conclusion I came to when evaluating myself. Its His command and because I know I heard it from Him Im changed. The very act of hearing transforms me and empowers me to obey (Ro 10:17).
1) Real calling produces faith:
Boldness: He tells me to do things I would never do based on my own personality.
Perseverance: I can endure hardship for a long time because I know this is my assignment. When Im weak I keep coming back to the fact that He put me here.
Risk-taking: I dare to start something great with almost no resources believing God will provide.
2) Real calling produces focus:
I may have to go back to school to get the training I need but this time I know what I need to study and why.
Disciplined time: I do this on-purpose, not just by accident occasionally (divine appointments vs. adjusting my schedule).
3) Real calling produces divine assistance:
Partners who are called to help you (antilépsis)
4) Real calling is confirmed by others
People who receive Gods care through you naturally want to say thank you.
Mature elders should always be watching others and confirming Gods calling (and gifting) when they see it.
5) Real calling produces much fruit
(Jn 15:16) You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain
(Jn 15:8) My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
The Holy Spirit actively supports and assists you time after time.
The Abraham Principle (Ge 15:1-6): the power of time. The seed doesnt stop growing when we die.
How to hear His call
So, God has summoned each of us to serve Him in a specific place, in a specific way and at a specific time, but if I cant hear His voice or if my heart isnt prepared to obey Ill never participate in that plan. What must I do to enter into my calling?
1) Become a disciple (Mt 28:19) Repent, believe and receive. Each baptism is essential. If I havent fully surrendered I likely wont obey if I dont like what I hear. If Im not confident of His forgiveness Ill soon withdraw from serving Him in shame. If I havent been baptized in the Holy Spirit Ill lack the power I need to walk in personal purity and victory, and my new capacity to hear His voice will be severely diminished.
2) Fast and listen (Ac 13:1-3) Fasting quiets the flesh and makes it easier to fellowship with God. Scheduling uninterrupted time to sit and listen to God is essential.
3) Recognize His anointing When and where it comes on you while serving others.
4) Dont let pride or fear close off potential areas
Thats beneath me, I want to do what shes doing.
Thats too hard. I cant do that.
5) Listen People will thank you when God uses you to minister to them.
Write a one page statement entitled My call. Describe:
When I heard
What He said
How I responded
Then read your statement to someone you respect and trust, and ask them to pray with you that God will show you the next step.
1) If there are two or three people present who can share their answers to the three topics in the assignment above please do so (be careful to leave time for others to share, so be brief).
2) If you have not heard your call, what did you hear in this message that will help you?