Bob Goff, author of amazing books Love Does and Everybody Always has completely changed my outlook on serving and loving people. Bob is a man who never stops giving no matter the circumstance or person and rarely considers how much it will cost him. Over the last couple years, I have been learning this idea (really lifestyle) of how and where people are meant to serve God. The question of where we are meant to serve God is simple: it’s everywhere (not just in the church).
But what about how?
That is the grand question every Christian attempt to find an answer to. God has given everyone a unique gift, calling and plan to be a light for Him in all places and all times. We must choose to step in the calling and opportunities he gives us each and every day. One of the main driving forces of this that Bob Goff refers to a lot is simply loving people always. I am not saying this as I know all and do this every single moment. It took a long time to see this clearly and every day I continue to learn. I believe we are called to serve wherever we are with whatever we are given. Christians do not need extravagant resources to share the Gospel. Every day is meant to be lived in full opportunity with eyes and heart open. This has been in play since the beginning, so I thought it would be useful to look at a story from the 1 Samuel 3.
There was a boy named Samuel who was born after God fulfills a prayer from his mother, Hannah. Eli is the priest in Samuel’s context but receives judgement from the Lord due to his sons who blaspheme their roles as priests. This leads us to chapter 3. Samuel and Eli are getting ready for bed at Eli’s house. Then suddenly the Lord called upon Samuel. Samuel rushes into Eli’s room as he was not feeling well saying, “Here I am, for you called me” (v. 5). But Eli replied, saying he never called Samuel. Samuel went back to his room then the Lord called upon him again. Samuel went to Eli only to hear that Eli did not say anything. It says in verse 7, “Now Samuel did not yet know that the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.” Then it happened for a third time. Samuel rushed into the room. Eli sensed that God was calling Samuel, so he told Samuel to go lie down again and, “if you hear the Lord then say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.'”
As Samuel laid his head down, the Lord called upon him. This time Samuel was ready to hear what the Lord had to say. The Lord began to tell Samuel some difficult news. God told Samuel of Eli’s sons’ blaspheming of God and at the same time, Eli was not stopping them. Eli already received judgment of this in the previous chapter, however, God now told Eli there was no sacrifice that could atone this judgment. In other words, Eli was too late, and he missed his chance: ouch. Samuel laid in his bed the rest of the night, no sleep (I doubt I would have had any sleep either). The next morning, Eli called for Samuel and once again he said, “Here I am” (v. 16). Samuel was so afraid to tell Eli all he heard, but he hid nothing from him. Eli responded well and trusted the LORD in the plan. Samuel went on to be established as a prophet of the LORD for all of Israel.
This small story from the Bible speaks magnitudes of God compelling his people to fulfill their purpose on earth. A few applicable ideas from this I found are such as these:
Samuel was willing to help wherever he was called, but did not realize it was God at first. Remember, God has more for you than you could imagine. It is easy to go through the motions and wait for opportunities to fall into your lap, but sometimes God is calling you somewhere you’ve never been before just as God was calling Samuel. Even as he was calling Samuel, he did not have it all together. He did not recognize God’s voice at first. He had to step out of his comfort zone without any resources in order to reach the purpose God had for him. It did not get any easier after that. Samuel opens himself to the Lord, hears the Lord’s plan for Eli and is filled with fear with what he hears.
God doesn’t call us to the fun and easy. The life He calls us to could be difficult, uncomfortable or even awkward. With time, it becomes easier and just takes one step. Even filled with fear, Samuel says, “Here I am,” to Eli ready to give him the difficult news. What was God’s purpose of all of this? Did God want to make Samuel a prophet? Did He want Eli to know the bad news? Or was there something more? I like to think so. Verse 19 says, “And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” In the previous chapter there are another two stories where it ends with “Samuel grew,” and I believe that is what God had planned all along.
It was not just a coincidence. He wanted Samuel to grow, trust in His words and believe God is always in control. We can do the same.
Honestly there are plenty of stories of God leading people to their purpose and them following the path laid before them. This resembles much of the Gospel story where Jesus was given a specific purpose. He followed the path until the very end. Jesus’ time here on earth was not always comfortable, yet he continued to pursue God’s perfect will.
Now God is calling us to do the same.
Serve and love people wherever you’re at. But most importantly, serve and love God wherever you’re at. It may be uncomfortable, you may not get the results you hoped for, and it may hurt. But you will grow. Trust him. He is with you always, and His words will last until the end.
You won’t regret it.