Sunday, June 9, 2013

SermonCliffNote: Stewards of God's Call

God calls whom God will when God will how God will.  The Bible is replete with the call stories of God’s people, including Moses, perhaps the most unwilling of all.

When God came calling in the form of a burning bush, Moses repeatedly protests his own unsuitability, asking who am I to do this thing and who are you to ask me?  My own favorite is when he pleads with God: O Lord, please send someone else!

To all of Moses’ protests, God responds with providing.

Many, if not all, call stories have protest as the response to God’s invitation. . . Amos protests he is just a farmer . . . Jeremiah that he is just a boy . . . Isaiah that he is not worthy . . . Jonah that God’s message is not worthy . . . Esther that she’ll be killed . . .

Yet God persists with all of them.  God provides for all of them.  And God fulfills God’s purposes through all of them.  Even so, not every call story in the Bible is a success: Saul almost brings a nation to ruin that God gave him to take care of . . . Judas was as much a disciple, as much called as Peter and Andrew and James and the rest . . .

Preacher G. Lloyd Rediger speaks of the duty we Christians have to be “responsible stewards” of God’s call to us.  God has given us a heart, a passion, a desire, to do something and that something is God’s call to us.

Yet God’s call is not an invitation received without conflict – often there is doubt . . . and fear . . . confusion . . . and even lack of desire . . . because the call of God is a very big deal . . . and too often we humans live in a perpetual state of smallness, forgetting who and what we were created to be and to do, settling for far too little and calling it good or good enough.

When we believe we are too few . . . too weak . . . too old . . . or too young . . . too tired to act, to move, to help, we make ourselves too small . . .

When we buy in to the lies of our culture that only big money and big business and big churches can do anything of real import, we make ourselves too small . . .

And few though we may be in number, we were not made for small –

In the words of poet Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our imagining is a big part of our stewarding of God’s call . . . for if we cannot or dare not imagine what God has in store, we will not see it come to life.

For God’s call to bear fruit, we must first imagine that it can.

For change to happen in ourselves and in our world, we must first believe, imagine its happening.

The call is always an invitation into the movement of the divine dance of coming and going:  come . . . with me . . . go . . . and do . . .

The question is . . . will we?  Dare we?


  1. Ah Beth! You are quite the artist. Once again I am ever so pleased and humbled that you write.