1 Samuel 3:1-21
Right at bedtime, God called out to Samuel, but Samuel thought it was the priest Eli. After three times, Eli finally realized it was God who was calling Samuel. The next time God called, Samuel said, “Here I am, Lord!” God wanted Samuel to do something very hard. God wanted him to tell Eli that his family would no longer be priests because they didn’t follow God. Samuel did it, and he kept telling people hard things for God for the rest of his life.
God calls us, even when we are young.
Questions for Family Time:
1. Who was the person you learned about? What made him special?
a. Samuel was really young, but God called him.
2. Did Samuel recognize God’s voice?
a. No! God had to call him 4 times before he knew it was God.
3. What was Samuel called to do?
a. He was called to tell the priest Eli hard things.
4. What is God calling you to do?
Samuel is the last of our series of Judges. He is not actually recognized as a judge, though he falls in that time period. He is considered a prophet. In the Old Testament, prophets are people who take God’s word to the people. Priests are people who take people’s words to God. In the New Testament, first Jesus and now the Holy Spirit act as both prophet and priest. Through Jesus, we have full communication with God. We can be prophetic by speaking God’s truth into the world. We are also part of the priesthood of all believers, which means any of us can act as priests for each other by praying and helping them see God’s presence.
Samuel has an amazing call story. God called him and he didn’t recognize God’s voice. It wasn’t until Eli told him, that he realized it was God talking to him. I think many of us have this experience. We may feel God calling us to do something…in our neighborhood, for someone else, or even change jobs. How do we know if that is really God or just a whim we are having? It is something most of us struggle with as we sort out what God wants us to do. It even happens to us who are called to be pastors.
Just like with Samuel, most of us need someone like Eli who helps us discern God’s call. In the UMC, laity and clergy must confirm someone’s call to pastoral ministry throughout their candidacy process, which last from their call all the way through their education and three years of full time pastoral leadership. Pastors review their work and theology and then finally agree with God that this person is called and gifted to serve as a pastor.
While not all calls are such a long process, every day God calls people in the church for specific jobs to bring his kingdom to earth. Whether it is a specific day job, or a job within the church, God calls all of us to use our abilities, personalities, knowledge, and passions to bring his glory. This week, our project leader is a member of our church that God called. She never thought she would end up in jail, but God called her to lead a bible study there. The church helped her follow that call by recognizing how she would be good at leading, and helping her with supplies.
God is calling all of us. I hope we have the courage to follow those calls. Just as important, I hope God is using us in each other’s lives to confirm those calls.
What is God calling you to? Who else’s call can you confirm?