The following is the reflection offered at the opening worship of the Presbytery meeting on 18 February 2023, delivered by Rev Jo Smalbil.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Reflection – Following God’s call
In a little while, we will be holding a commissioning service for office bearers and committee members for the Presbytery.
I would expect that all of the people in positions in our churches and presbytery gave prayerful thought and consideration to answering a call to those positions when they were asked.
In our readings we heard that God gives different gifts to everyone just as he decides, and that we are all to work together with one another in love.
I firmly believe that when God calls us into any form of ministry in the church, that he is there with us, and equips us to carry out that role to the best of our ability.
So what does it mean to follow God's calling?
How do we follow God’s call on our life?
I think the most obvious answer is – just as those first disciples did – with obedience.
Our lives were bought with a price and we belong to Jesus, and he would expect our natural response to his call to be regular and ongoing obedience.
In his book, “On Being a Servant of God,” Warren Wiersbe wrote,
If God has called you to minister, no matter what that ministry may be, He hasn’t made a mistake.
He knows what He’s doing, and the best thing you can do is gratefully submit to His will and trust Him to work. (p. 32-33)
It's a glorious privilege to serve God!
He’s the one who has handpicked us and prepared us and empowered us to join Him in His Work.
But the question remains, “How do we follow God’s call on our life?”
Apart from obediently which I mentioned a minute ago, here are a few more ideas.
Passionately – We should pursue God’s call with passion and fervour, by making an ongoing choice to embrace what He’s doing and respond with passionate obedience.
Worshipfully – We pursue the call of God worshipfully, because God’s call upon your life is one born out of relationship. Everything we do can be a form of worship to Him.
Think of it as your life submitted in worship, adoration, and surrender to Him.
Faithfully – We pursue the call of God upon our lives faithfully. Over and over again, the Bible emphasises faithfulness. We learn faithfulness is always rewarded and unfaithfulness leads to consequences.
And 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
Lovingly – We pursue the call of God in His agape love, and there will be times when you will need love in your relationships with others. Love is the lubricant the helps forgiveness flow freely, and, love covers a multitude of sins!
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13)
Humbly – We pursue the call of God in humility.
Humility is vital to our faithful obedience.
Humility is a right understanding of who we are in Christ. It follows the denial of ourselves and is followed up with an esteeming of others more highly than ourselves.
God requires us "to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God?" (Micah 6:8)
And finally – when you believe you are answering the call of God, do so with a thankful heart. When we make excuses, we limit our ability to press through obstacles and grow from constructive feedback and invitations to greater faith.
Defensiveness pushes away important information God intends for us to learn and grow from.
My prayer for our presbytery and our congregations, is that we may all work together for the good of the whole church, that people will feel empowered to rise to the calling of God in their lives, and that God will bless each and every one of them as they do. Amen.
Loving God, We thank you for the way you have moved in so many lives across the years.
The way you have met with individuals,
Confronting them with your will, challenging them through your call, and leading them through your love.
We thank you for the people you have placed in our lives, to teach us, inspire us, and challenge us, when our faith is weakening, and our lives full of doubt.
Move within us and rekindle the seed of faith in our hearts, so that we may be a source of hope and comfort, love and compassion, to a needy world. To the glory of your name. Amen.