Sometimes I’m confused about my calling because there are so many interpretations of what that means that is overwhelming.
As Jesus followers, we tend to worship a God who is best explained as someone mysterious yet we live in a society and a culture that only worships certainty.
Just in that, we can see a huge gap that can affect our perception of calling or purpose.
That’s why we are going to start a new series called “Maybe God” where we are going to understand what all of these means and not just the calling because that’s going to be a simple result of our study. Our main goal will be to listen to God and not in a crazy or weird way but in a real way. You will see what I mean.
The LORD calls Samuel
The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.1 Samuel 3:1-9 NIV
This is the perfect story to understand what a calling means because our culture has given us the concept of a calling instead of understanding the nature of a calling and that’s a big difference.
Even more, due to a cultural influence is that we expend our lives frustrated by wishing to do something that God didn’t call us to do.
There’s definitely something within us that makes us wonder about our purpose in life and nothing can satisfy that desire until we find our calling which is hard because we usually don’t know what that means.
The context of the story is that Samuel was an apprentice in the tabernacle because his mother Hannah prayed that she could have a baby since she had trouble conceiving and she went through hard times because of that. God heard her prayers and gave her a son called Samuel and as she promised to God, she gave her son at His service in the tabernacle.
She gave him at an early age and she only visited him once a year (1 Samuel 2.19). By the way, after she gave birth to Samuel she was able to conceive more sons and daughters (1 Samuel 2.21).
Meanwhile, you read that story, you will also find that God was mad at Eli and his sons because they were doing horrible things in his name. They were wicked and so God promised to shorten their lives (1 Samuel 2.34) and that He would raise a new faithful priest that would do many things according to God’s heart and mind (1 Samuel 2.35).
Knowing about the existence of the wicked priests we can now understand why chapter 3 started by saying that in those days the word of the Lord was rare.
It can also apply to our times because even though there is access to a lot of information, it’s so difficult to get the truth.
Therefore, the problem is not about access, the problem is about our attitude in front of the word of God.
In other words, when the word of God becomes common is when we all have access to it but at the same time, it will not have an impact on our lives.
Since you are here I suppose that you don’t want to live a superficial belief either and that’s why we need to review some aspects of Samuel’s story to understand our calling and to live a real relationship with God.
The context of the story is a culture of negligence which results in absence of the presence of God.
In today’s context, the idea of calling has been sold as individualistic ambition-oriented delusion dressed up in Christian cliches.
For example, instead of worshiping God we worship the idea of God’s will. I’m pretty sure you have also heard that phrase “if it’s God’s will”.
Through that Christian cliche, we can see that we value more God’s resources than the relationship with God.
Until we value more the voice of God and make time for it, we are going to be exactly as the people at the time of Eli.
Let’s go back to the study of our calling. We saw that even Samuel didn’t get it right for the first time and he is one of the greatest prophets of all times.
Now you can be free of the feeling that you need to find your calling because that’s a cultural concept but not a biblical one.
You don’t have to find your calling because when you focus on living the season on which you are right now then your calling will find you.
The first time Samuel heard the voice of God it sounded familiar to him. That’s why he replied and went to Eli.
Whatever God is going to speak in your life is going to come in the context of relationships and the word “contact” refers to that.
That’s another reason why you need to be selective with your relationships which don’t mean to be an asshole but to be responsible about who you listen to.
Don’t expect to hear the voice of God as you hear the voice of Morgan Freeman because that’s not going to happen. The voice of God comes into our lives through thoughts and that’s why Samuel is confused.
As Samuel, many of us have the right passion but we run into the wrong person or the wrong place.
Another example of this is Moises when he killed the Egyptian. He had the right passion but it was misplaced.
Likewise, we can be running to the things that God want to remove from us.
One of the things we can do to improve our contact is to surround ourselves with the people that bring out the God in us.
If our calling is important for us then our contact should also be important.
It’s not only the culture and the contact that can confuse us in our calling but it’s also the conflict.
In the story of Samuel, we learn that God usually repeats things. God will speak on several occasions as a way of confirmation and a way to avoid any conflict.
We find it in little things. For example, you could hear it in a sermon, see it in a movie, hear it in a song, hear it from your partner, and so on.
You can notice in verse 9 that the great revelation of God occurred while Samuel was resting.
Eli didn’t tell Samuel to catch God or to fast or to pray but to rest because if it really was God calling Samuel then He will do it again.
The only thing that Samuel needed to do was to be prepared to answer God and so do we.
Remember that it’s not about God’s will but it is about getting to know him.
It may sound obvious but to know God means to know his voice and the reason why it isn’t that obvious is that there are a lot of Christians that don’t know God. Even Jesus talked about this saying that a lot of people talked about God but God didn’t know them.
In any case, the idea with Samuel example is that we realize God’s purpose when we are in our place.
We think that our purpose or calling is just one but it’s not and that’s why it can be confusing.
Let me explain it with really simple examples of our life. God can call you to be part of a ministry but when you get married then you get another calling which is to be a great spouse. If you have kids then you get another calling which is to be a great parent.
As you can see, there can be more than one calling and when you think otherwise is when life can get a little bit messier.
Now, let’s get back to Samuel’s final reply which is “Lord your servant is listening”. That reply creates access not only for God’s word to come to him but for God’s word to come through him.
And Samuel’s word came to all Israel. Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek.1 Samuel 4:1 NIV
It doesn’t say that “God’s word came to all Israel” which seems like an error but it is not. Samuel got into such a level of relationship with God that when he spoke it was God speaking.
That’s the fruit of Samuel’s actions starting by being available for God. Actually, when you make yourself available is that the word of God become abundant.
On this new series, we are going to learn to listen because all this time God spoke to us but we have lost our ability to listen.
Before we end this teaching I want to highlight that our goal is not God’s will but our relationship with God.
The whole idea with the title of this series is that we cannot say “this is God” or “this isn’t God”, but we can say “it might be God”. The only way to know is by saying “speak God, I’m listening”.
Next time we are going to talk about how our mistakes are miracles in disguise and if you want to read that one then you should subscribe to the newsletter by [clicking here].
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See you in the next post.