READ: 1 Samuel 1-3, Psalm 81, John 13, Ephesians 2
Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli (1 Sam. 2:11), ministered before the Lord as a child (v. 18), grew in stature and favor before God and man (v. 26), and ministered to the Lord before Eli (3:1), all before God called him. Samuel’s call is intriguing for two reasons: he ministered to the Lord before knowing the Lord, and he was called before he had revelation of the word.
It is possible to have ministered for many years to and before the Lord without knowing Him. We should be both sobered and encouraged. Sobered for all of us are capable of hollow service, and encouraged for there is more of Jesus for all of us to know. God calls us out of ministry to Himself. Too many are seeking to hear God’s call to the ministry, while God is more interested in calling us out of self-centered ministry to Himself. We are doubly blind, for not only are we serving Him powerlessly, but we don’t even realize the folly of our ways. We teach and preach the Word but do not know it for we do not constantly, conscientiously obey it.
It was out of ministry that God called Samuel. The one whose name means “God hears” was able to hear God despite the clutter of service. “Here I am!” It is imperative that those who serve Jesus keep telling Him that they are available. “Here I am, Jesus! Just as willing today to obey today as I was yesterday. Here I am, Jesus! Just as willing to lose everything today as when I was young! Here I am, Jesus! Just as willing in the now to follow you to the cross as when I first believed. Here I am, Jesus. Here I am!”
Do not be satisfied with your level of obedience, sacrifice, giving, or hearing. Strain in the Spirit to listen to the voice of the Lord. He may call you out of the ministry. If you will hear and obey, like Samuel, you will grow and the Lord will be with you and the Lord will not let any of your words fall to the ground. I am so sick of my own powerless words. I detest standing in front of a congregation and knowing that my words are lifeless, void of any transformative power. I am ashamed that my words fall to the ground more often than not – impotent and weak. I long to speak the life-giving words of Jesus. I long for God to reveal Himself to me in fresh, burning reality (1 Sam. 3:21).
I rejoice that there is more of God to know. I rejoice that a powerless, forgettable ministry is not God’s intention for me nor my destination. I rejoice that God is calling me away from perfunctory ministry into the knowledge of Himself. I rejoice that there is more of God and more of His Word to give me life. “Speak Lord! Thy servant heareth!”