The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (NIV)
Do you ponder things? I don’t mean dwell on them, but roll something around in your mind that has an air of mystery waiting for the proverbial penny to drop, or a revelation to appear from the mist?
Often it seems to me that it’s about timing. It’s like I’ve got all the pieces of the puzzle, but they won’t fit together until God puts in the last piece somehow. Or He shows me which way up the picture goes… I don’t know if you’ve ever seen those photos of a single flower or a leaf on the ground, but there’s nothing to indicate which way is up? Sometimes it can take ages till your brain is happy with the orientation of the picture, even if it looks like it’s logical.
So here we are, pondering the mysteries of the universe and wondering which way is up.
Throughout history, we hear testimony of the voice of God saying “I have a job that needs doing, who will go? I have a task to be done, who can I trust? I need someone, who will be available for me, just for me?”
Then we have the corresponding stories. Some he calls before birth, and they know it – Samson, John the Baptist. Some see a need and put up their hand. Which is what the nazarite vow is about in Numbers 6:1-21 (NIV).
Then there are others. Gideon, who had to conquer fear and learn that he was up to the task. Jeremiah, who had an inferiority complex, and hadn’t come of age. Joseph; God had to undo all his upbringing before he was trustworthy. David needed to behave king-like in the desert before he ever became king in the palace.
Then there’s Samuel. Funny thing about this kid. There are two books written in his name, about the period of time he lived in, and it’s obvious that he was quite well known, but mostly the things written about in those books are history, and have nothing to do with the man himself. Don’t get me wrong. He’s all over them. However, it’s more like he’s underneath it all, than it’s about him, if that makes any sense…? For being a major prophet/priest, he certainly gets very little air time.
It’s kind of like “blah blah blah, all this stuff happens everywhere. Oh, and Samuel showed up and did stuff. And lots of other things happened that were heaps important and there were things happening and stuff.” Just to reiterate it, they wrote it down twice, because lots of it gets repeated in the books of Kings, but with even less appearances by Samuel.
This is a man who was conceived and born by the grace of God, and given back to God. God didn’t come out and say ‘I need a Nazarite to free the people from their bondage so I will appoint one.’ And Samuel didn’t see a need and make a vow off His own back. He was a child who was wanted by his parents and was a good kid who listened to God and was available. The nation of Israel was going through an interesting time, but they were under their own steam, not under the yoke of another nation.
There were changes on the horizon though, and I posit that God wanted someone who could carry them through it.
Someone whose relationship with God would be solid, who would be able to navigate the turning tide without losing course. Someone who would be able to keep the end in mind. Someone who could provide a solid foundation, help repair the foundation of the nation and lead from the background.
In sociology these people are called gatekeepers. The people who really determine where a society or community goes, or how it runs. It may appear as if one person or organisation has all the power and position, however, if the gatekeeper nods in another direction, the people will do something else. This is why finding and empowering the gatekeepers in a community will transform a community more quickly than speaking from the position of government.
In Christianity, spiritually these are the watchmen. They often either do not seem to fit in any other christian space, or they can fit into a lot of it. What they are actually carrying is a long range vision that has been given to them by God, and often in prayer are carrying things much longer range than just the next twenty/thirty/fifty years. They could never finish their task, because their task is not finished till Jesus returns, they are one in a line of many.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; Jeremiah 1:5a (NIV)
So this now begs the question. All of us on the Narrow Way have been called of God. We are all “Marked men” (humans), what are you marked for?
Are you marked for a specific task – do you feel the pull of His heart about something so strongly that you are prepared to make a promise, a vow with God to dedicate yourself to that one thing under Him?
Has He marked you from before birth for something specific? Is that in the story of your life?
Or did He wake you up one day and call you to something? It may not have been suddenly, it may have been a series of prophetic words and ‘coincidences’.
It may be in your giftings, it may be in your calling, it may be in your talent, it may be in the way your heart breaks, it may be a specific calling aside for a purpose.
Mary... sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said Luke 10:39 (NIV)
He may desire the intimacy of your relationship with Him to be the absolute focus of your life. Being called to be Mary at the feet of Jesus is an enormous, important and extremely intimate call. IMHO there is nothing more important than this call, because it is this that creates the thin places that allows God to break through into the world without any barriers, borders, boundaries or reservations. It means limitless possibilities and learning mysteries in the universe (and outside of it) but doesn't necessarily solve the problem of working out which way up to hang that photo...
God Bless You Very Much