Anglican Morning Devotion, 12 July 2021 Anno Domini
A Ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 2And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; 3And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; 4That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. 5And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. 6And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. 8And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. 9Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.” (1 Samuel 3:1-10; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The calling to the Lord is no casual affair. He plants in the heart of His chosen vessel an ember of burning desire that is often purposely ignored. But the Call is relentless. The man called of God may seek to go down to Tyre and Sidon to escape the notice of the Lord. He may even take passage on a seabound vessel to avoid the sight of God – but he may as well be cast overboard in the turbid waters of the sea. There is no distance a man can go to avoid that calling of God to ministry. It is relentless and all-pervasive. Below are lines taken from a poem – The Hound of Heaven – by Francis Thompson (1859–1907), that best describes the matter:
|I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;|
|I fled Him, down the arches of the years;|
|I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways|
|Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears|
|I hid from Him, and under running laughter.|
|Up vistaed hopes I sped;|
|And shot, precipitated,|
|Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,|
|From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.|
|But with unhurrying chase,|
|And unperturbèd pace,|
|Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,|
|They beat—and a Voice beat|
|More instant than the Feet—|
|‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’|
Once surrendered to that Calling, the minister of the Lord has assumed a grave responsibility. It is no longer his own wisdom and opinion that he advocates to win men over, but the Words and will of the Lord that God has imparted to him through diligent study of Holy Scripture. Whatsoever God adjudicates as sin, the minister must do as well. The reality of sin is not man’s judgment, but God’s. It cannot be excused.
The example set by our Lord is the best a man can follow. There is an old military acronym called ‘KISS’ which means “Keep it simple, stupid.” The sharing of the Word of the Lord in preaching must not be done with fanfare and affected sophistication. We must preach as Christ preached, in normal language understood of the people, and with examples from real life to support that preaching as Christ did with Parables. Christ often sat down to preach as one having authority – He did not flail His arms and scream unto God. He spoke in gentle, convincing tones. He used no icons, or fancy attire. He had no pompous gesticulations. He taught simply and in the language of the people – and so should the minister called of God.
Remember it is God who calls a man. It is the man who must hear that call and respond; and it is the Church that recognizes the call. That is all.