I’ve been reading Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love this week–I know I’m about 3 years behind on the evangelical Christian required reading list, but bear with me here. Truthfully, it’s one of the most difficult books I’ve read in a long time, not because are a lot of three-syllable words (there aren’t) and not because it introduces a lot of difficult theological points (it doesn’t). It’s hard to read because it is challenging me. It’s pulling me up and out by the collar so I can’t sleep at night. I can’t sleep at night because many of the attributes of the lukewarm church I see in myself. I am ashamed, because there is nothing safe about God’s love for us. He loves us with reckless abandon, and that’s how he wants us to love Him, love others. He heals the broken hearted, he binds up their wounds, He lifts the needy out of the ash heap, He weeps and here I am sitting, waiting to pull God out of my box for a small portion of time every day, instead of taking Him out and putting Him on like a second skin.
I desperately want that.
I want everything I do to have the imprint of a holy God upon it.
I want to enter or leave a room and people feel the presence of something different settle over them.
Almost every time I’ve been in public lately, I begin to think what made Christ’s personality so magnetic.
Was it his compassion, His words, His being there? Yes. Whatever it is, I want it on me.
I started this post with the intention of drawing a parallel to Samuel, the boy priest-in-training (1 Sam. 3) to what God wants for the church. God called Samuel out three times, but Samuel had no idea what or who these voices were coming from. How many times does God have to call us out before we answer him? In this particular scenario, Samuel is “guarding” the presence of the Lord (the ark). What are we guarding? Are we laying so close to his presence that we forget to abide? I’m going to cut Samuel some slack here, as it was probably late, he was sleepy and truly, I don’t think he knew exactly how to recognize God’s voice, because it says in verse 1 of this chapter, “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions”. I think a lot of this may have to do with the way Eli’s sons were behaving in the temple. And too, we see “Samuel did not yet know the Lord: the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” Finally, Eli the head priest, knew enough of the Lord to tell Samuel that these voices he had been hearing were from the Lord Himself, and next time he heard them, he should reply.
And Samuel did:
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
God went on to explain to Samuel what He was about to do:
-something in Israel that would make the ears of everyone who hears it tingle
-carry out the judgement on Eli for everything that his family did to dishonor the Lord
Then Samuel has a tough job to do, he had to tell Eli that judgement was coming. He did, and amazingly enough, Eli accepted this fate and said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
And it says, “the Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground”.
May we be tested, approved and carry out what it is God has set aside for us:
a testimony and the good news for a lost and dying world along with the desire to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”