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Called

1 Corinthians 1: 1-9

There is a definite focus on “call” in today’s passage.  Paul opens with his call “to be an apostle of Jesus Christ”.  He then reminds the church in Corinth of their “call to be holy”, right along with all others who “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  This culture of call is one that is present throughout the Bible and is alive and well today.

Before Paul there is a long list of those called in the Bible.  Noah was called to build an arc.  Jonah was called to save Nineveh.  Moses was called to lead his people.  Job was called to endure much while remaining faithful.  Joshua was called to lead into the Promised Land.  Rahab was called to risk her life for God’s spies.  Fast forward and we find simple fisherman and unpopular tax collectors alike called by Jesus.  Almost all of the people that God called are much like us – normal, ordinary people.  Some were even outcasts and others were hated by their siblings.  Some served for just short periods and others served for years.  Some were even like Paul, who as Saul killed many Christians in his attempts to stamp out the new church.  The long and short of it is that God can and will continue to call any and all for service in the kingdom.

In addition to calling us, God also equips us.  Paul reminds us that in Christ we have been “enriched in every way” and that we “do not lack any spiritual gift”, that God has already given us what we need for the tasks at hand.  Paul then shares a promise: “He will keep you strong to the end”.  And lastly, Paul shares, “He has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”.  Pretty good company as we answer God’s call on our lives.

We are each called and equipped by God to go forth into the world with Jesus Christ.  May we faithfully answer the call this day.

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Called

Reading: 1 Timothy 1: 12-14

Paul reminds us today that God can use anybody to help build the kingdom.  Paul acknowledges that his past included blasphemy, persecution, and violence – all against the newly founded church that followed Jesus.  He was very zealous in his work against this new church.  Yet God, in a show of great mercy, claimed Paul for service in the kingdom.  In a flash all the zeal against Christ became zeal for Christ.

When we look at Paul’s past, we can see how God was at work preparing Paul for the role we know him in as one of the great missionaries and teachers if the early church.  Early on Saul, as the old Paul was known, was a star pupil.  He was very intelligence and quickly learned the Hebrew Bible inside and out.  He quickly rose through the religious ranks and became a very well respected Pharisee.  It was all of this past knowledge and practices that allowed Paul to so skillfully build His case for Christ and to defend it against attacks from non-believers and the Jewish authorities as well.

Each of enters into God’s service in a similar way.  We too all come with our past sins and mistakes.  But we also come with we have done and experienced and learned in life.  The gifts and talents that God has blessed each of us with are a part of who we are as well.  Just like Paul, when we are called or led into service in some particular way, we are ready.  We are just who God has prepared us to be and needs us to be for that role.

Like so many before us, often we too ask, “Me?” as our initial response to God’s call.  We are usually skilled at saying “Well…”, “But…”, “When…”, and “No” also.  But God does not call us unless we have been equipped for the task at hand.  We may not know this or feel this way, but God knows better.  May we each obediently respond to God’s call in our lives so that we may say as Paul said, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to service”.