mind. Everything in our life, prepares us to answer the call of God. You see our past, no matter how imperfect it maybe, is not a liability; it is the testimony of the transforming power of God. Our past, reminds of the need to remain humble in all things.
Regardless of what your calling is, one thing is true of all Christians; we are all called to do something. People receive their calling at different stages in their lives, so some people like me receive their
calling early in life, but others receive their calling much later. In this lesson, we will not focus on what your calling is. Our focus is discerning whether it is God’s voice that you hear calling you as opposed to your own inner voice or the voices of other people.
1 Samuel 3:1 tells us that when Samuel was a boy the word of the Lord was rare and visions where not widely known. There were people who served as priests meaning that they interceded or spoke to God on behalf of the people. However, given the rarity of the word and the lack of vision there were few prophets in the land. Prophets were responsible for speaking to the people on behalf of God. We are not sure exactly how old Samuel was at
that time but it says that he was a boy. Samuel was studying to be a priest under the tutelage of Eli. It is amazing that God had placed Samuel under authority and tutelage of Eli, even though Eli’s sons were wicked in the eyes of
the Lord. God had given him several warnings about his sons’ behavior. However, Eli was unable to get his sons to change their ways. So, God held Eli and his entire household responsible.
In 1 Samuel 3:2, when it refers to Eli’s eyes growing weak, it symbolizes Israel’s inability to receive visions because its spiritual leadership refused to turn from its evil ways. It was within this context that God calls Samuel. God calls out three times but Samuel did not know it was the voice of the Lord. After the third time, Eli recognizes that it is the Lord calling the boy. Eli tells Samuel how to respond. It is amazing to me that Eli could not get his own sons to listen and respond to the word of the Lord, but he could get Samuel to respond. So, what was different about Samuel? Samuel had a desire to obedient to the word of the Lord.
Many of us are just like Samuel in the sense that we are not sure if it is the Lord who is doing the calling. The first step to hearing the call of the Lord is being able to discern if it is God who is doing the calling. This requires a process of discernment. Keep in mind that God called three times before Samuel finally answered
on the fourth time. He needed Eli to help him discern that it was the voice of the Lord. This often requires a
person who can help you work through the process. In Samuel’s case it was Eli. This person is often referred to as a mentor. Mentors are wise and trusted counselors. After discerning that it is the voice of God calling, the next step is discerning what God is specifically calling you to do and God’s vision for your ministry. For example, you may sense a call to preach but that does not necessarily mean you are called to serve as a pastor. You could be called to be a lay speaker, evangelist, or a deacon. In the case of Samuel, God’s call was both visual and
audible. God called him but God also supplied a vision. The same is true for us. God both calls/summons us to a ministry, and God provides the vision to carry out that call.
What is a calling?
What is a prophet? What is a priest?
Have you heard a call from God? Did you answer the call?
Are you going through a period of discernment?
Write down what you think our church and community would look like if we all answered God’s call.
If you feel that God is calling you to a particular ministry area, please inform the pastor.