Monday, October 21, 2019

Ever heard or said the words, "If God is calling you...."

I know I have.   Standing in front of crowds, congregations, groups of folks in many settings. I have said, "If God is calling you to be a foster or adoptive parent, or of late, a Safe Family, or a Vision 30 Partner....

But this week at the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Conference, I heard these words from Isaiah 1 and want to pass on a couple thoughts I learned there.

The multitude of your sacrifices—
    what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
    of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
    in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
    who has asked this of you,
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

So now you are probably saying to yourself, “OK, Claudia, I’m pretty sure that this doesn’t apply to me.   I have never once offered God rams or the fat of fattened animals.  I don’t ever try and give God the blood of any animal, especially not bulls and lambs and goats. I stopped burning incense a long time ago.  And I have never once gone to a celebration about the New Moon!"

But what if it said something more close to home?  What if it talked about the offerings we put in the plate at church?  Or the last time we got together at church for a “fall festival” or a community wide block party?   What if their convocations and assemblies translate into our worship services or Bible studies?  Just sayin.

God even says to the people, “

When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.

So what is the solution?   What if all this activity that I am pouring myself — my religious stuff — worship and prayer and coming together with other Christians — what if it is becoming like the folks God asked Isaiah to yell at in Scripture?   How can I fix it?

He makes it pretty simple:

Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;    plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.

There you have it. Get busy paying attention to those less fortunate. Get involved in taking care of the fatherless. Its pretty clear. And if you haven’been going that, God will settle the matter and forgive you.

We often say to people If God is calling you ...." But that statement is incorrect. There is no if.

God has already made it very very clear that we need to find our own place in the space of caring for the fatherless. It’s at theme throughout Scripture. It isn’t “If God is calling you” it is “BECAUSE God has ALREADY commanded you.”

Think about it. 

(Thanks Jason Johnson and Kelly Moore for some of the thoughts above)

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