The called of God: Meditation for The 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
The call of God conjures a modern image of phone call. The phone of our heart rings and it’s God on the line. He indicates His interest in us and invites us to a cause. God calls specific people to specific assignments. He also calls people generally to be part of His people. In all cases, the “called” of God should have a healthy relationship with Him for the purpose of the call to be realised; for two cannot walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3).
Many times, the call of God is general and open to all. Those who hear and respond are accepted and become the chosen. Isaiah, for instance, did not hear God calling him specifically. He rather overheard God saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” and then responded: “Here am I! Send me” (Isa. 6:8). The matter now is, therefore, not whether God calls because He does, but what the “called” makes out of the call. It is about the condition of our ears to hear clearly and our spiritual disposition and receptivity to respond accordingly. The “called of God” includes, the Christian, the minister, the leaders, the functionaries, etc.
Requirements Of The Called
The called of God is required to be loyal and faithful.
The nature of God’s call or covenant with the people of Israel was such that He dictated the terms. He simply told the people what to do and they only responded: “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” (Exod. 24:3). There was no ground for negotiation or the liberty of choosing what is suitable. Failure to submit to God’s demand when He calls results in God’s ultimate judgement, as well as ugly consequences and uncomfortable situations. There are some expectations for those who are called by God. God’s calling carries some privileges and blessings, but the “called” of God also have some responsibilities. Those who abuse the privileges or fail in their responsibilities are set aside and cast out “for many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mat. 22:14).
The OT passage (Ezek. 2:1-7; 3:4-11) contains the calling and commissioning of Prophet Ezekiel to the people of Israel to declare to them the terrible judgment that would very shortly come upon the whole land, if they failed to repent. The challenges and the Divine expectations of him were laid bare to him. It was a difficult message to a difficult people.
The world of business defines success in terms of giving customers what they want. But in the Divine business, success is defined in terms of giving the clients what they need as determined by God. Ezekiel was called to give God’s message to the people, whether they would want it or not. The measure of Ezekiel’s success would not be how well the people responded, but how well he obeyed God. When God calls and deploys, He does not judge the called on how well people respond to him, but on how well he himself responds to God’s call or how faithful he has been.
The NT passage (Matt. 10:1-22) records the calling and commissioning of the apostles. Jesus called the 12 disciples and gave them powers requisite for the works they were to do. He spelt out their assignments, modus operandi and also the dangers and challenges or difficulties they would encounter in the course of their work. But in all things, they needed to demonstrate trust in God and remain faithful in all circumstances. The highpoint is in the last verse – “But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Enduring to the end is evidence that a person is really committed to Jesus. It is the by-product of a truly devoted life, which should mark the “called” of God.
Ven. Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector, IBRU INTERNATIONAL ECUMENICAL CENTRE, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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