Calling and vocation

Amanda MacQuarrie, minister of Bo’Ness Old Parish Church, writes about calling and vocation, the complicated experience of feeling led to do something, with all the doubt, excitement, and longing that is bundled up with it.


You saw me first!
Saw me and knew me!
Willed me to come, even before I saw you, even before I knew you, even before my life had turned around,
You had a plan for me and you invited me to journey with you.
My mind says whoa! Slow down a minute. But my heart leaps within me and shouts yes!
If only my head weren’t so doubtful, cautious, sensible…


Imagine though,
One who saw you, all of you.
And summed you up even before you saw him;
Knew the measure of you inside and out; saw the thoughts in your head, the hurts you keep hidden, the longings in your heart.
Saw them and counted them along with the number of hairs on your head… Even before you had thought to say hello!
What would you say to Him?
What would you do as He walked towards you?
Picture him now,
Coming towards you,
Sitting beside you…
Turn to him and tell him your thoughts…
He doesn’t need big words, or even full sentences…


Lord, thank you that you see me, care about me, love me, hear me.

Open my ears to hear your call,

Open my eyes to see where you lead,
And give me the courage to follow. Amen.


You called and I heard.
And the word heard is Love.
You loved me first, and so now…

If I follow where you lead, then I too must love, as you have loved me – love without counting the cost.

But what does that mean?
What does that look like in life today? In my life today?


I love my family, my friends, my neighbours. I give to the foodbank, I support charities…
But is that it, or does it mean more?
To lay down my life, my plans?

And to follow you…
To serve…
And not just to give what is safe, comfortable, affordable…
But to offer everything.
To give even from those areas of my life where there isn’t much left in the tank, or where I guard what there is for myself?
To love those who hurt me?
To give more of my time… not just in passing, but to see, as you see…
And to be as you are – present.
With. Alongside. Dwelling in and among. Not off on my own agenda, but being present to yours…


Lord,
Following your call is hard.
Sometimes you lead us where we find it hard to go,
And sometimes you ask us to let go of the things that we hold most tightly to. Give me the courage that I need today to trust you,
To enable me to loosen my grip, even just a little, on my life.
And to be open to where you are leading me. Amen.


Amanda MacQuarrie


#consequences #decision #giving #recognition #affirmation #uncanny

Readings

  • The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

    Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

    “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

    “Come and see,” said Philip.

    When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

    “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

    Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

    John 1:43-48
    NIV
  • The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

    One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.

    Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

    But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

    Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

    “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

    Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

    A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

    Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

    The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

    Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

    1 Samuel 3:1-10
    NIV
  • “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

    John 15: 9-17
    NIV
  • You have searched me, Lord,

    and you know me.

    You know when I sit and when I rise;

    you perceive my thoughts from afar.

    You discern my going out and my lying down;

    you are familiar with all my ways.

    Before a word is on my tongue

    you, Lord, know it completely.

    You hem me in behind and before,

    and you lay your hand upon me.

    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

    too lofty for me to attain.

    Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

    If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

    If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

    even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

    If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

    even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

    Psalm 139: 1-12
    NIV
  • For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

    My frame was not hidden from you

    when I was made in the secret place,

    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

    Your eyes saw my unformed body;

    all the days ordained for me were written in your book

    before one of them came to be.

    How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

    How vast is the sum of them!

    Were I to count them,

    they would outnumber the grains of sand—

    when I awake, I am still with you.

    Psalm 139: 13-18
    NIV

Prayers

  • Open my ears

    Lord, thank you that you see me, care about me, love me, hear me.

    Open my ears to hear your call,

    Open my eyes to see where you lead,

    And give me the courage to follow.

  • Following your call is hard

    Lord,

    Following your call is hard.

    Sometimes you lead us where we find it hard to go,

    And sometimes you ask us to let go of the things that we hold most tightly to.

    Give me the courage that I need today to trust you,

    To enable me to loosen my grip, even just a little, on my life.

    And to be open to where you are leading me.

    Amen.

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