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As At Other Times

And the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel! Then Samuel answered, Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:10 NIV

We may be familiar with the Bible story from Sunday School. One night, as the young lad Samuel lay in his bed, he had an unusual encounter. From the darkness, he hears his name called. Running to the bedside of his foster father, Eli, saying, "Here I am." Eli responds, "It's not me; go back to bed." This happens three more times until Eli understands what is happening and tells him next time to say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." 

We can take several things from this verse that apply to God's calling today. First, if God places something on your heart, he's not likely to give up. Whether that task is to join the church choir, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or anything else that is of value to the Kingdom of Heaven and nourishes your soul. If it's righteous and good, it's likely the Lord calling "as at other times."

The second thing we can get from this story is that sometimes we need others to help us acknowledge that it's the Lord calling us. Little Samuel might have spent many sleepless nights if it weren't for Eli. Those who have experienced this before can help us recognize it as God's calling.

Sometimes, God may call us to do something we never see ourselves doing. Because of how we've come to see ourselves, we don't think what is being asked is remotely possible. For example, if you fear public speaking, it might seem impossible for God to move you to share your testimony in church or join the church choir. But if God calls, he will give us what is required for the task he has called us to.

After listening and discerning, we are called to action. The discernment process is essential, but we can't remain in that "as at other times" mode. There is something called analysis paralysis, which means becoming so entrenched in collecting the data that we can't (won't) take action. We are to do that thing that God has asked of us. 

"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Lord, I am ready to hear your voice and follow your guidance. Help me to determine your will and to be obedient to your commands. May my heart be open to your leading, and may I be willing to go wherever you send me. Lord, open my ears to others who help me discern and bless them in their calls. Thank you for your love and faithfulness and the many blessings you have given me.


Pastor Tim

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