One of the joys I have since returning home has been to connect with some solid guys plowing the fields here in Baltimore. One of these great guys is my friend Aaron Pankey. I've asked Aaron to post here today a thought on Answering God's calling. Many of my readers wrestle with this so I thought his words may be of use to you. Have a great weekend.
Answering God’s Servant Call
the news that you receive threatens to make your plans for your life collapse. Have you ever been there?
That’s the dilemma facing Mary in Luke 1:26-38. She’s introduced to us as a young virgin engaged to be married to the man of her dreams. Life is going well for her. However, we meet Mary in this text at a time where she is faced with the monumental decision to answer an astonishing call to service.
Mary responds twice to this call: 1). how can this be . . .? v. 34 and, 2) Lord, let it be . . .” v. 38. Faced with a similar call to serve today, will we respond in questions that lead us down the road of distrust and resistance to God’s call OR will we respond in complete vulnerability and trust to the Sovereign, Master plan of our Heavenly Father who has chosen us for the task for such a time as this. Prayerfully, our time in this text will nudge us, by the grace of God, and by the Spirit of God, through the Word of God to answer our own call from God to serve. It’s interesting, God’s invitation to Mary was “Greetings, O favored one! The Lord is with you.” His welcome, His grace, and His presence need to be focused on as we answer His call.
Mary’s First Response: “. . . How can this be. . . .? (v. 34)
Answering God’s call may cause us fear for numerous reasons. It could be because:
1. We feel too insignificant for such responsibility
2. We feel too inadequate for such responsibility
3. We feel too ill-equipped for such responsibility
How will this be . . . (v. 34)?
When we feel too insignificant, remember Our significance comes from Him. He relishes placing His servants in impossible positions so that they can trust Him and bring Him glory in the fulfillment of His call on their lives. When the task seems BIG, remember that the God who gave the task is BIGGER. Rest assured, He makes no mistakes. He called Mary to answer His call to serve. He never sends a message to the wrong address. Mary was the right person for the role. The task He may be giving you today does not come by accident or coincidence. His personalized call to you to serve came especially for you and especially from Him. He will never put more on you than you can bear (I Cor. 10:13).
How will this be . . . (v. 34)?
When we feel too inadequate for the great responsibility to answer the call to serve remember the very moment we sense fear is the very moment we can have our fears addressed. The angel said . . . “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (v. 31). We have no reason to fear. He hasn’t given us the sense of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). Our adequacy to serve comes because the Lord is with us. Fear comes from elsewhere but, most assuredly, not from Him. He has called you to this! What’s more staggering is that He has extended this precious call to you precisely because He knows you can handle it. Mary found favor in God’s eyes and for those of us who know Christ as our Lord as Savior, we have, in a very real, tangible manner found favor in His sight.
How will this be since I am a virgin. . . . (v. 34)?
When we feel too ill-equipped, like we don’t have the necessary experience we are often tempted to believe, “Surely, someone else would be better able to carry out this task. Certainly, there is someone else out there more experienced to handle this duty?” However, you already know God doesn’t make mistakes. His servant call came personally to Mary. He has taken care of her fear issues, and now she is coming to the place where she is prepped to own the servant’s call that has been given to her.
And Mary said, Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her (v. 38).
Mary’s second response: I see in Mary a young, vulnerable individual who has responded to a daunting call to serve. She may have felt insignificant, inadequate, and ill-equipped. However, because the Lord was with her (as He is with us who know Christ) she was able to rise to the occasion and fulfill God’s Servant Call. Today, your initial response may have been to question His call, but will your final reply be to embrace His call for you to serve?
Devotional Reflection Questions?
1. What about God’s call to serve makes you feel too insignificant to answer?
2. What about God’s call to serve makes you feel too inadequate to answer?
3. What about God’s call to serve makes you feel to ill-equipped to answer?
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (verse 38).
I pray that this will always be the response of God’s people . . . Will you answer His call today?
Humbly submitted by
Pastor of Infinity Church
Called to a People, Called to a Place
For many years I would tell you that I was not called to a place. I have felt called to be a follower of Jesus which includes the basics of loving others as myself, placing others above myself and stuff like the golden rule. Then along the way I felt called to use my gifts and talents, my time and energy, my very being to lead others by developing their abilities to expand God's Kingdom. I even felt a call to starting churches nearly 10 years ago but still not called to a 'place'.
Nearly two years ago I was in Virginia 'doing ministry' when I got a phone call that ultimately turned into a divine call. Through a process of praying, fasting and seeking counsel I felt (6 months later) that God was calling me to a people and a place. God was calling me back to my hometown of Baltimore.
We've seen tremendous receptivity to what we're doing here. We've been fortunate in just about 5 months to see 34 profess Jesus publicly in front of our church by walking the aisle and trusting Christ as Savior. We've seen of that group 14 who have been baptized as an outward symbol of that inward change. We have also certainly faced adversity (usually with a smile) and we're certain to face more. Ultimately though every day I fall more in love with the fact that God has brought me home to Baltimore.
Baltimore is a funky town with dozens and dozens of population segments, neighborhoods, history, tradition, eclectic-ness and plenty of drugs, violence, crime and fear. What Baltimore needs more of in my humble opinion however is the hope found only in Jesus Christ. It's an honor for me to be here. It's such an honor to be among a people that you know God has asked you to live life and proclaim His love.