Has God ever spoken to you? Have you ever heard God’s voice or had a dream or insight that changed the course of your life? What would you do if you heard a voice calling to you in the night?
Samuel is a young boy. We don’t know his age, but certainly not older than twelve. (Any one here twelve, or remember being twelve?) He’s a helper in the Temple, an aide to the high priest Eli. He has no authority. He’s just a kid. But, God calls him to be a religious leader and a prophet to the children of Israel.
Could God be calling you?
Did you know that one of the marks of being a spiritual leader in the Bible is to feel unworthy and not able to do the job? Probably that’s how Samuel felt. He couldn’t imagine God calling him – he thought it was the priest Eli – and yet the voice keeps calling. Three times!
In the United Church of Christ, we say “God is still speaking.” Some respond by asking, “Is anyone listening?”
Well, Samuel listened…and if God is still speaking, God may be speaking to us…not as something dramatic but in our everyday life…not as something special but to us in terms of our particular gifts and life experience…
Right here and now….most of us don’t think we have a special calling, but each of us does and it changes from day to day and year to year…there may be a lifetime big picture calling – like the person you marry and what you are meant to do in your life – but the details are worked out in the here and now….
Think a moment…..what might God be saying to a young child – Jamie, Jack, Serena, Sophia, Jordan, or Delanie?
Each of these children is different but one call I’m sure of is – grow, do new things, keep your imagination…
And I’m sure that God is calling to the parents and grandparents – what might God be saying to them?
We can’t be specific – but maybe “listen to this child, be the best you can be, let them know you love them, keep them safe so they can explore.”
What might God be saying to our confirmation kids? What might God be saying to you? What do you think?
We can’t be too specific – each of these young people is unique – but I think God says to them – “explore,” “love,” “respect,” “care for other people,” “enjoy your youth,” “be a good friend,” “have a good heart.”
And what might God be saying to our teens’ parents and to us as a church? Maybe, “trust them with responsibility,” “give good boundaries,” “love even on difficult days,” “let them know they belong and that they’re beautiful,” “listen and respond.”
Samuel was just a kid, but he grew up to be a leader, and that’s the bible story…David was a young man and he defeated a giant…a little boy has five loaves and two fish and feeds a multitude…a mustard seed grows to a great plant…a small act of kindness changes the world.
“Samuel, Samuel,” the voice calls….but we could put our name in too, “Bruce, Bruce” – and it may take a while for us to identify the call, but when we do, we can ask God for guidance and then listen, and find our way – and do great things to bring beauty and love to the world. “Speak, Lord, your servant listens.”