Called to go sermon

Generally, creating a manuscript for a sermon is not something that I am used to. But due to a number of efforts to try to become a better speaker and writer and preacher and teacher, I am working on the discipline of manuscripts. Below is a manuscript that still has a lot to be desired. 

Today we begin a four part sermon series about God’s call in our lives. We will take four stories from Scripture that tell of someone receiving a call. We will then explore how that call story from so long ago impacts our lives. This week we will explore the call of Moses and how we all are called to go. Next week we will explore the call of the disciples and how we are called to follow. The following week we will explore the call of Abram and how we are called to be a blessing and the last week of the month will explore how we are called to be blessed by looking at the call story of Mary the mother of Jesus.

As we begin this series might we turn to God in prayer for guidance and illumination as we encounter the Scriptures.

Lord open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. May our response bring glory and honor to you. Amen.

Exodus 3:10-14

10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 11 But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ 12 He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’
13 But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14 God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.”’

Moses asks God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?”

Indeed! Who is Moses? He is just a guy who got lost in a mountain looking for a sheep and stumbled onto a burning bush and kicked off his sandals.

Oh no he is not. In case you and apparently even Moses forgot, Moses is the adopted son of a former Pharaoh who was raised by the court of Pharaoh after being saved from the river by the daughter of Pharaoh.

Who is he to go to Pharaoh? Who is he not to go to Pharaoh? He is among the few people in the known world who could actually go and request an audience with Pharaoh.

Because of his life, knowledge, access and position Moses might have been the only person at that time who could have gone to Pharaoh. And perhaps it was because of all this that God called Moses to go to Pharaoh.

Perhaps one could argue that Moses was called because he was the only one who could do it.

Moses was the only one who was equipped with the gifts and graces and talents to go to Pharaoh for this task. Moses did not have an apprentice or an understudy. As far as we can see in the story, Moses was the only option God had. There was no plan B.

Later in Exodus, 4:13, Moses asks God to send someone else. But there is no one else that can do what Moses can do. There is no one else. This might explain why in the very next verse it says “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.” God had not plan B. It was Moses who would lead the people or the people would remain enslaved and the status quo would be unaltered.

If we were to skip ahead to the moment when Jesus is ascending and he calls the disciples to go into the world proclaiming the Gospel, Jesus did not have a plan B. There were not some other disciples just waiting in case the original group did not respond to the call. No, either these disciples were going to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ or the Good News would not be spread.

Either Moses will lead the people or the people will not be lead out of slavery.

There was no plan B.

When we are called by God to go, friends we must understand that there is no plan B. Either we go, or the status quo is unchanged.

There have been many painters in the world who have painted any number of pictures and images. But the fact of the matter is there is only one Starry Night. (Show image on screen). Vincent Van Gogh was the only one with the exact gifts, graces and talents to paint this. Starry Night was either going to be painted by Van Gogh or it was not going to be painted at all. Fortunately for us, Van Gogh heeded the call and painted.

We ask little children what they want to be when they grow up. Recently Gavin Cox, one of our children, told me that when he grows up he wants to be a ninja. And we smile at this answer, but perhaps we ought to be laughing at the question.

What do you want to be when you grow up is not really a question that Christianity asks. In fact in the early 15th century, Christians actually made up a word in order to express a better question. Rather than asking children what do you want to be when you grow up, Christians would ask,  (quod est vocatione) “what is your vocation?” The word ‘vocation’ comes from the Latin vocatio which means - a call.

Christians recognize that we are called by God to do something for Kingdom of God not just personal fulfillment. We understand that people should not have jobs but that people should live into their calling. Moses had the job of a shepherd but his calling, his vocation, was to lead people from slavery. You and I may have jobs but we also have a calling. Jobs can be fulfilled by any number of people, but callings are only fulfilled by the one who is called.

Christian Theologian Frederick Buechner (Beek-ner) said that our vocation is where our greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.

So I ask you, what is your vocation?
Where is God calling you to go?
Where is God calling Saginaw UMC to go?

May we be like Moses, and come to embody our vocation from God; to go into the world and live faithful lives living out our calling. May we be like Moses who had the courage to risk his job in order to seek his calling. May we come to embrace the reality that God has a call on our lives, that you are gifted and graced to live into that calling, that no one else in the world will be able to respond to God’s call but you, and may you come to discover there is no plan B.

We are God’s plan.