WHEN THE CALL COMES
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
Seasons change, and the role of the leader is to discern those season changes, to be ready for them and to enable those they are leading to navigate them successfully.
It is a leader’s responsibility to hear when the call comes to change season and to be ready to respond. Such a ‘season change’ is upon us. Whilst we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing sense of momentum to start meeting together physically, to look at ways of safely kickstarting ministries, to expect God to be at work in new ways among us.
Are you ready? Are you ready to lead others in this new season?
When the call from God comes, am I in the right place to respond and are those I am leading in the right place to respond? The true leader doesn’t just give a sigh of resignation when they hear that groups and ministries are starting up again and reluctantly waves goodbye to their lockdown lifestyle – a leader is ready to lead forward when the call comes.
There is still time to gear up to hear the call! There is still time for leaders to get things in place to enable us to hear and respond to that call. A great example of this is to be found in Samuel’s calling, which we can read about in 1 Samuel 3:1-14.
The essence of the story is that Israel was in a bad way; the spiritual leaders were living compromised, worldly lives, the people were far from God, the Lord was rarely heard as a result. And yet, God was about to move – the season was about to change, and He called Samuel to be his mouthpiece. Why Samuel? Because he had learnt the three principles for being effective ‘when the call comes’.
Principle #1 – Faithfulness in the dry times…
To listen to God’s call, we need to wake up. God called Samuel out of the blue during the night while he was sleeping. What this shows us is how easy it is just to do things in our sleep, on autopilot. To hear the call, we need to wake up, and as leaders we need to make sure that those we are leading are awake too. We can get so locked into our routines that we can sleep walk through a new season and never hear the call of God. We need to learn to listen in the ‘dry’ times – the times when not much is happening.
Real life dictates that not every moment of our day is going to be technicolour. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t have an ongoing attitude of expectancy, even in the dry, monotonous times. Being ready for the call is about being open to any part of our life being used by God as the opportunity to speak to us. The truth is, though, Samuel very nearly missed God’s call. God had to call him three times, with the first two times being misinterpreted as being Eli’s voice. And the reality is, it’s very possible that you and I have missed a call from God precisely because we were not living in an attitude of expectancy.
What do you expect God to do in your life today?
The reality is, we should be praying at the start of every day: ‘Lord, I am open to you speaking to me today. As I go through this day, if you want to call my name to get my attention, help me to hear your voice. Open my eyes to what you’re trying to show me today, please don’t let me miss it.’
Let’s not limit this to the daytime: ‘Lord, please speak to me in my dreams and please awaken me during the night if you have something you want me to act upon.’
Principle #2 – Expectancy in the normal times…
We tend to adapt to the times that we are in. What was inconceivable just last year – that church buildings around the world would be closed, that physical meetings would be stopped and that the only contact would be via computer screens – fast becomes the norm. A preview of ‘normal times’ in 2020 would have left us shocked in 2019!
For Samuel, his ‘normal times’ revolved around people having little expectation of hearing from God. People allow their level of expectation to be set by the ‘normal times’ they are in – if our norm is lockdown, isolation, everything ‘on hold’ then our expectation of God tends to be lower as a result. This should not be so! Whatever the ‘normal’ times we are in, our expectation should be set by the character and promises of God. He is the Lord, He does not change! Still mighty to save, still passionate about relationship, still desiring to grow full devoted followers of Jesus Christ. And so, whatever the times, we should still be expectant that He will speak clearly, act powerfully.
Principle #3 – Obedience when the ‘inconvenient call’ comes…
We need faithfulness and expectancy to make sure we are not missing the call of God. But God looks for obedience when the call is not something we particularly want to hear. What Samuel heard was not what he wanted to hear:
‘I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.’
The call on Samuel’s life was to be a faithful mouthpiece for God, and in principle that sounded great. But what a way to start his career as a prophet – prophesying doom to the nation’s leading family! God’s call is going to cost.
In 2006, American politician Al Gore made a documentary called: ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ which highlighted the issue of global warming. Well, God’s call is most often An Inconvenient Call. We need to show leadership in this. 1 Samuel 3 finishes by charting the growth of Samuel’s ministry into being one that all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south recognised and honoured. That only came because of his response as a young child that night in the Temple. Each bigger step is built on faithfulness in the previous step. Do we need to respond to the call of God?
It doesn’t seem massive if we don’t. But it IS massive, because the bigger call is dependent on our faithfulness in the dry times, our expectancy in the normal times and our obedience to the inconvenient call. And how WE respond will dictate how others respond.
When the call comes – don’t miss it!
A special LEADERSHIP EVENING
Of encouragement, training, and empowering
On Monday, 26th October 2020
At Kingfisher Tredworth.
7.30pm – 9.pm
This is for all those in any form of leadership and will be videoed and made available on
Kingfisher’s YouTube channel so that all leaders in the Kingfisher Family can benefit.
Where accountability is lacking, real people get hurt, the Body of Christ is damaged and the Gospel of the Kingdom is brought into disrepute
How God develops our faith for the New season.
When the call comes, we will need to step out into a new plan that God has for us as a leader. That ‘new plan’ will most likely have the following characteristics:
PHASE 1: A DREAM
God gives you a dream: an idea, goal, or ambition. Every great accomplishment first begins as a God-given dream in someone’s mind.
“God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”
Eph. 3:20 (LB)
PHASE 2: DECISION
A dream is worthless until you decide to do something about it. For every ten dreamers, there’s only one decision-maker. This is the moment of truth where you decide to invest your time, money, energy, and reputation – and to let go of security. If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat!
“You must believe and not doubt … a double-minded man is unstable in all he does.”
PHASE 3: DELAY
There is ALWAYS a time lapse before your dream becomes reality. God uses this waiting period to teach you to trust Him. Remember: a delay is not a denial. Maturity is understanding the difference between “no” and “not yet.”
How God develops our faith for the new season God says,
“These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!”
Hab. 2:3 (LB)
PHASE 4: DIFFICULTY
Now the problems start popping up. The two most common types: critics and circumstances. Don’t worry! It’s all a part of God’s plan.
“At the present you may be temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials. This is no accident – it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold.”
1 Pet. 1:6-7 (Ph)
PHASE 5: DEAD-END!
Your situation will deteriorate from difficult to IMPOSSIBLE! You’ll find yourself backed into a corner; you reach the end of your rope. The situation looks hopeless. Congratulations! You’re on the edge of a miracle. Trust God.
“At that time we were completely overwhelmed … in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet, we now believe we had this sense of impending disaster so that we might learn to trust – not in ourselves – but in God who can raise the dead.”
2 Cor. 1:8-9 (Ph)
PHASE 6: DELIVERANCE!
God provides a supernatural answer. Miraculously, things fall into place! God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections so you can see His greatness.
“I expect the Lord to deliver me once again so I will see his goodness to me ….” Ps. 27:13