Today’s Readings: Psalm 84; Nehemiah 2:1-20; Matthew 13:24-30; Revelation 6:12-7:4
When I was younger and would hear people talk in ways Nehemiah talked near the beginning of today’s passage from the book of Nehemiah (i.e. “I hadn’t told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem” in 2:12), I would have rolled my eyes and said, “There goes another religious fanatic. Why doesn’t such a person admit it was their own idea they simply pushed off on God?”
As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve paid more attention to the calls (another way of saying God put something within my heart) that have occurred in my own life.
So how do I decide if something is a call versus simply a good idea that I had?
A big portion of it has to do with how things play out. Let me give you a powerful experience I had of receiving a call.
When I was called to attend seminary in 1998, I had no idea how I would pay for the education. I was also confused because I knew gay men wouldn’t be ordained by the denomination to which I belonged at the time. But something in my heart pushed me to pursue the experience despite my overwhelming reservations.
By the end of my third year of seminary, however, I had not only received scholarships to cover the full cost of my education – I had been called to serve a local church and was in the midst of the ordination process within a denomination where my sexual orientation wasn’t an issue!
So, Craig, are you telling me that when God calls you to do something (i.e. puts something in your heart) that it means things work out easily?
I wish! What I am saying is that from my experience when God calls me to do something I have enough resources to pursue that path before me - no matter how many obstacles lie in the way. PLEASE know that when I say resources I don’t mean superficial things like money – I mean the more important resources like courage and faith. That’s how I know the difference between things that are simply one of my own clever ideas versus something put in my heart by God.
Have you had an experience of having something placed in your heart – something you thought you could never do but did? If so, give thanks for the power of that experience. If not, keep your heart open for the possibility of such a thing happening. Til next time…