Sunday, May 20, 2012

Don't you know who I am?

  We all have our reasons for the things that we do and don't do.  When it comes to our calling from the Lord, none of these otherwise solid and air tight arguements seem to hold water.  Invariably, we turn to the one argument we have left.

  I'm talking about the one argument that seems to get in the way, even when we desire to do the thing God has called us to.  It goes something like this: "This can't have come from God.  I can't do this.". We then turn to our bibles.  We get down on our knees in prayer.  We ask for clarity.

  Now, at the point where we have confirmation in scripture and in Spirit, we start to get upset.  Now begins, "Why me God?  Don't you know who I am?  I know you have seen the things that I have done.  You know how I used to be.  How can you call me to this?  Nobody is going to take me seriously!"

It is time to consider three solid cases for this same argument where God chose someone who was not only unfit, but of a dubious past.

  Moses was the son of a slave, raised as a prince, who discovered his own origins, committed murder, and left town.  He didn't just leave town, he ran.  He knew that, in Egypt, he was known as a murderer.  Were he to return wearing the mantle of deliverer, he would be seen as a traitor as well.  Yet, in Exodus 3, God sends Moses to that exact place with that exact mission.  The Egyptians had every reason to kill him, and the Israelites had absolutely no reason to trust him.  We all know what happened next.

  Now let's move to the New Testament.  

  Matthew was a tax collector.  This was considered to be the lowest of low by the Jewish and Roman people alike. This was a group who sought out their own and demanded money to be paid for both government and temple taxes.  They were known to be dishonest on the whole, and were little better than thieves.  Yet, Christ called one of these to walk with Him and preach the gospel.

  Matthew 9: 9-13
  As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth.  "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
  While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
  On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

  Matthew had every reason to doubt the sanity of Jesus' call.  I can only imagine the overwhelming power of that call, made in person, by the Word made flesh.  Matthew did not argue, but obeyed.

  Now consider Saul, the Pharisee.  This man was a lawyer, prosecuting attorney, judge, and jury, all rolled into one.  He sought out Christians and made sure that they were punished, usually put to death.  He made an example of them. He was good at his job.  Then something happened on the road to Emmaeus.

Read Acts 9: 1-31

  Saul was confronted by God.  He was so set in his ways, that it took this grandios intervention by God to get his attention.  God knocked him down and struck him blind.  Then after following God's instructions, he was healed.  He was then sent to join the disciples and preach to the Gentiles.  Now, he was a being called to go to a group of people that he knew wouldn't trust him (and they didn't at first), and join their ministry by going out and and sharing the gospel with a people that prior to then had been considered unclean and unworthy.  He knew good and well that the disciples wouldn't go for that either.

  Yet, Saul, now Paul, did go and do as the Lord directed.  His ministry was anointed from the start.  This man reached the far corners of the known world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He cast out demons and healed the sick.  He converted the masses and is responsible for  writing a good portion of the New Testament.  What if he had fallen prey to his own "solid argument"?

  It comes to this.  God knows who you are.  He knows where you have been and what you have done.   He calls us to Him.  We submit to His authority and he makes us clean.  None of that from before matters from that moment on.  It is how we choose to live our lives then and every minute after that counts.  In that moment, the Lord of all creation has informed us that he no longer cares about our past, and that he is going to use us for His glory and the good of His kingdom.  Will we dig in our heals and defeat ourselves in stubborn arguments born in shame or doubt?  We have a choice.  We can do what we are called to do, what we were created to do, and obey the Lord.  
  God changes us when we step out in faith.  We become less of who we were and more of who He has called us to be.  It is our honor and privilege to serve the Lord.  It is our responsibility as citizens and ambassadors of heaven.  We have only to put aside our own prideful ideas and limitations.  We have to trust in Him.  That is the greatest challenge of it all.  It is also absolutely necessary.


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