When God Calls

I Samuel 3:1-10

Matthew 4:12-23

What would you do if God spoke to you?  Well, the Bible says that God speaks to people all the time, and sometimes God speaks to children.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night?  You hear a strange noise and you’re wide awake. That’s what happened to Samuel in today’s story.  He was ten or eleven, maybe in 4th grade or 5th grade, he might even have been in 3rd grade.  Do you know anyone who’s nine, ten, or eleven years old?

He hears a sound, just a whisper.   Could it be the wind?  A creaking floor?  The snoring of Eli the priest, because Samuel lived in the temple, the church, with the minister.  And then he heard as clear as can be, “Samuel, Samuel.”  He thinks it’s Eli, so he runs to the priest.  “Did you call me?” he asks.  Half asleep, Eli sends him back to bed.  He hears the call again, “Samuel, Samuel” and races back to Eli.  “No, I didn’t call you,” the half-asleep Eli says. But this time stay put, and if you hear the call again, say “God, speak to me.  I’m listening.”  And when it happens a third time, Samuel says, “God, speak to me.  I’m listening.”  And, he hears God’s voice and learns what he’s supposed to do with his life.

God speaks to people of every age and God’s speaks to children.  God speaks to people at work like the fishermen Jesus saw on the lakeshore.  Jesus told them, “I have something better for  you.  If you follow me, you will help people find their way. You won’t just be making a living.  You’ll have abundant life! You’ll make a difference.  You’ll change the world.”

You all know about the call of God. You’ve experienced it. Sometimes it comes through an ordinary event.  Do you remember Bilbo Baggins from the “Hobbit?”  It comes first as a knock at the door and a message from the great wizard Gandalf.  Or, Harry Potter, slowly discovering that he has extraordinary powers and then receiving letters everyday inviting him to a strange place called Hogwarts. Or, Hermione Granger, the smartest girl in the class, who discovers that you have to be brave as well as smart, and you have to use your heart as well as your brains to help your friends, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, to fight the darkness that threatens the world.  Do you remember the siren that alerts Chase, Ryder, Everest, and their companions on Paw Patrol that there’s someone in danger that needs their help? (No job too big, no dog too small!)

Sometimes the call comes when you’re scared.  One night a young minister Martin Luther King got a phone call.  He had been working to help his people find freedom and equality.  This call threatened him with harm.  He couldn’t go back to sleep, and so he went downstairs for a cup of coffee.  As he sat in his kitchen, he prayed, “God, I don’t have the strength to do this anymore.  I want to quit, but if I do, the movement will be defeated. Help me.”  Then he heard a voice – “I am with you.  I will be with you.  Follow your mission.”  And, last Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King day – for King said “yes” despite his fear and became a leader of the Civil Rights movement, helping everyone become free.

God calls everyone here.  God usually speaks to us in the things we do best – sports, art, music, science, math, friendships.  What you do best is your gift to the world, and each of us has many gifts.  Think of Eric Liddle, the Olympic Runner, who’s described in the film “Chariots of Fire.”  He tells a crowd, “God made me fast, and when I run, I can feel God’s pleasure.”

Young and old, God gave you gifts and still is giving you gifts.  Look at what you love, at what you do best, and where you can help others, and that’s where God is in your life.

You may not hear a voice in the night like Samuel.  You may not have a wizard contact you like Bilbo Baggins or a summons to Hogwarts like Harry Potter. Or a siren like Chase and Ryder.  But, right now, God is in your life and giving you all sorts of messages, and when we stop long enough to listen and then say “yes,” great things happen.  Even if no one knows who you are and you never make it on television or a movie, you will be a hero for God.