An Invitation from God
By Larry L. McSwain and Kay
Where is God leading me and how do I follow that path? Is there
a connection between my interests and God's call? What exactly
does it mean to be "called" anyway? The new book, Call
Waiting, may help you answer these questions.
Working from the assumption that all Christians are called to
serve God in this world, Call Waiting is designed to
help you understand the nature of "call," explore personal
giftedness, and identify ways to walk in faithfulness to a unique
and unfolding calling.
So you're watching your favorite music videos and you’re
thinking, Hey, I could do that! I should do that…lotsa
money, lotsa fun! Is that call? Not even close.
Or you’re searching the Web and you get a pop-up about
the next American Idol audition. Is this a sign? Should
you go for it? Is this call? Annnnt! (Buzzer sound.)
Or you ride in a bike-a-thon to raise money for a children’s
hospital and you begin to feel guilty. You say, “I must
become a doctor so I can help sick children.” But you barely
passed biology and you don’t even like to go to
the doctor. Are you ignoring your call? Nope.
Or your grandfather gives his annual “This kid’s
gonna be the next…(fill in the blank here)!” speech
at your birthday party. You smile back at your beaming family,
but there’s a sick feeling in your stomach. If you let them
down, have you rejected God’s call? Uh, probably not.
Have you seen the movie Sister Act? If you haven’t,
here’s the 411. Vegas lounge singer Delores, played by Whoopi
Goldberg, is sent to a convent to hide from the mobster boyfriend
who wants to kill her. Delores, or “Sister Mary Clarence,”
as she’s known in the convent, takes over the choir, and
it goes from boring a few church members to drawing huge crowds
and media attention. Along the way, Delores makes some discoveries
herself, her talents, and her calling in life. But she’s
not the only one. One night novice Sister Mary Robert brings “Mary
Clarence” an alarm clock to help her get up in time for
morning prayers. They begin to chat, and Delores asks Mary Robert
if she always knew she wanted to be a nun. Mary Robert replies,
“I’ve always known I had a call to a life of service
to God, but I’ve always felt that there was something inside
me that I want to give; something that’s only me and nobody
Call is something that all Christians share but that each
of us has in a special way.
We all share the same call to a life of service, and
we each have a unique calling that uses the extraordinary
person each of us is. So let’s take a look at how one person
first got word of his unique calling.
The Call of Moses (Exodus 3:1-12)
You know this story. The baby Moses was placed in a basket by
his mom and put into the Nile River to keep him safe from the
Egyptians. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as
her own son. We can imagine that he had all the perks of royalty
growing up, but things really changed later. One day when he was
about twenty, Moses saw an Egyptian beating a slave, and to rescue
the slave, he killed the Egyptian. This was an offense
punishable by death, so Moses ran away across the Nile and far
into the desert country of Midian. He eventually became a shepherd
for a man named Jethro and married Jethro’s daughter. One
day many years later, Moses saw a strange site as his flock was
grazing in the hill country. A ways off he saw a bush that was
on fire but didn’t burn up, and when he went to check it
out, God spoke to him from the bush.
“I’m right here!” Moses replied, approaching
“Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals—this
is holy ground. I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors,
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Then God went on to explain
the purpose of the meeting: “I have indeed seen the suffering
of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries for help and seen
how cruel the Egyptians are to them. I am going to take them out
of Egypt and bring them to a wonderful place, so I need you to
go lead them for me.”
Moses’ first response was “No way! Who am I to do
such a thing?” but God assured him by promising, “I
will be with
you.” So Moses headed back to Egypt for what turned out
to be the biggest job of his life.
Call is an invitation.
Notice that when God told Moses what needed to be done and Moses
said, “Not me!” God didn’t respond with “Hey,
I’m God, so you will do it.” Nor did God
threaten, “If you don’t, you’ll be sorry.”
Nor did God promise, “If you do this, I’ll give you
a fun life.” God simply said, “This is what needs
to be done. You are the right person for the job, and I will
be with you.” For Moses, the way God dealt with him
would have been startling. Historical study reveals that in Midian
and in Egypt, people worshiped many gods and believed in magic.
They believed the gods would punish or reward them according to
what they did. They also believed that they could summon a god’s
presence by speaking his or her secret name. As the story
continues, Moses asks for God’s name so he can give it to
the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. God advises Moses to tell the people
that “I Am” or, perhaps even a better translation,
“I will be with you” sent him. No coercion. No manipulation.
No threats. No magic. God invites Moses to a task and
promises to be with him as he carries it out. That’s the
way call works. It’s an invitation that reads like this:
WHERE: In the Church and the World
WHEN: Now and Forever
RSVP: Please respond with all of your life.
P.S. I will be with you no matter what happens.
Call is something that all Christians share but that each of us
has in a special way.
Call is an invitation.
1. What are some ways people respond to invitations?
2. Is the idea of call as an invitation new to you? Does it
excite you? Frighten you? Confuse you?
3. What are the voices that you hear when you think about the
choices that you will be making over the next few years? How do
you decide which voice to listen to? Whose voice is strongest?
4. When you think about the story of Moses, do you connect with
Moses? Or does his story seem too different from your life?
5. Think about how different our faith would be had Moses
said, “No thanks, God!” What are the results when
people say no to God’s invitation?
6. God told Moses that the ground where they met was holy. Where
is your holy ground—that is, where do you feel close to
God? How did you find it?
two of this article.
peace with God.
Want more articles for teens? Visit CBN.com
Excerpted from Call
Waiting: God's Invitation to Youth by Larry L. McSwain
and Kay Wilson Shurden, Copyright © 2005, published by Judson
Press. Used by permission.
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