I am sure you have similar memories as mine of playing with friends after school. When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to live in a small semi-rural town in middle England where children could run outside in the afternoon and evening.
We lived in a house at the end of a cul-de-sac in an area full of young families mostly having only one car which was usually parked in the driveway, which gave me and my friends clear streets to play on.
Our activity began with choosing 2 sides for a game of street football (what Americans call soccer). Play lasted until it started to get dark or until we heard the dreaded ‘call’ for dinner. Each parent would call their child in for dinner, only to be met with our blatant attempts to ignore and cajole, “Just one more goal, please!” or, “Just another 10 minutes please!” or, “Can I come in when (insert friend’s name here) comes in?”. All were excuses that acknowledged the summons, but we much preferred to delay the inevitable.
Fast forward a few decades, and I can still be too busy to heed ‘The Call’ – so much so that I had become an expert in ignoring and providing excuses as to why I could not be bothered. However His call endures: maybe through dreams, a recurring idea, a subtle voice accompanied by a chill up your spine, a convicting sermon, or even just something impactful mentioned in casual conversation.
About 3 years ago God called me, and planted the idea of serving in ordained ministry. At that time I just ignored Him thinking it was an outrageous idea. However the idea was quite persistent and would not go away. God’s call became louder the more I ignored it. Eventually I officially recognized the call, but replied with excuses such as, “I do not have the time” or, “I cannot give up my career. My customer projects would fail without me” or, “There is no local seminary” or, “I just do not want to change“. God miraculously removed all my perceived obstacles and my heart was converted to obedience.
In talking to others, I am not the only person who had this experience. Only in retrospect can we look back and wonder how we could have possibly rejected His invitation! As in Matthew 20:1-16 we are called to work in His vineyard at various hours. As Christians we are all being called to service.
So, if you are dreaming, hearing, or sensing God’s calling, how should you respond?
First stop and take time to listen. All the ‘important’ things you are doing that cannot be delayed, can actually wait 30 minutes, an hour, or a whole day. Our God is relentless and His call is certain.
Then find a quiet place to pray and listen. Enter into a conversation with God about what He is calling you to do. It may be serving in the Church or the wider community, it may be studying His Word. It may even be as simple as spending more time with Him in prayer.
Whatever it is, God’s will cannot be ignored or put off by worldly distractions. So listen, and say “Yes“! Then prepare yourself for a wonderful and purposeful journey!
This article was written by Chris Craig-Jones, Assistant for Pastoral Care.