Thought for the Week: 17th January 2021

Our thought this Sunday is by Steve Langton

God's calling

The theme of today’s readings is calling.  The Old Testament lesson is the calling of Samuel (1 Samuel 3: 1–10).  The boy Samuel was asleep when God called to him, and he thought it was his master Eli calling.  This happened three times before Eli realised what was happening and told Samuel to listen to God.  The message that God gave Samuel was not an easy one – he had to tell Eli some home truths about the behaviour of Eli’s sons.

Then in our gospel reading (John 1: 35-51) we have another example of God’s calling, but this time it is closer to the vocation sense of the word ‘calling’; Jesus calls Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip and Nathanael to follow him.

The disciples were young when they were called and traditionally a calling was often thought of in this way; a relatively young person being called to a lifetime’s service, perhaps as a priest, or a nun.  Similarly we may talk about someone having a calling to be a nurse or a teacher.  But God’s call is not restricted to the young; Moses, Abraham and Sarah were all comparatively old when God singled them out for their different roles in His plan.

The same is true in our lives.  God can call us at any time, and this may well be in later years. The middle years of our lives are often taken up with work and children, but as our children grow more independent and as we approach retirement, God can have new plans for us.  He may call us to serve the church in some way, or to help with a charity.  Or our calling may be to provide support to others who are struggling, either within our family or in the wider community.

And even if you are shielding at home, or are no longer able to get out much, maybe God is calling you to a ministry of prayer.  As Christians we believe that it is important to pray for the church, the world and all people, and yet so many of us struggle to find as much time as we should to spend in prayer.  Many Christian charities produce pray lists to help people pray for their work, so you could provide support to those actively working to spread the gospel or to relieve suffering.

So in the coming week, try to find a few minutes to pray, asking God if he is calling you to something new, or perhaps a renewed commitment to one of your existing activities.  You may find yourself challenged in a way that you didn’t expect.