Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
By The Calling
Thomas F. Fischer
Pentecost VII Series B
of the major themes of Scripture is that God works in mysterious, surprising
ways. What we expect to occur often doesnt happen. Why? Because God continues
to turn the tables on our human plans, hopes, and expectations.
paradoxical working of God is seen in many aspects of His working. He created
all that is seen from what is unseen. He brings life from death. He works
miracles in the most impossible situations. Virtually every working of God is,
in this sense, paradoxical. What is black, God makes white. What is impossible,
God makes possible.
the most fundamental paradox is embodied in the Scriptural concept of
grace. Grace is simply Gods way of saving the unsaveable,
forgiving the unforgivable, and giving freely to those who are most undeserving.
calling of God is not exempt from this paradoxical nature. God
characteristically demonstrates the paradoxical nature of His working when He
extends His calling. Whether one considers Paul, the disciples, Moses, Jonah, or
the prophets, those who are called are often surprised by the calling. Though
they dont expect it, God selects such unworthy, unprepared, and sometimes the
unwilling to be His servants.
is no exception. As our text indicates Amos, too, was surprised by the
calling. Amos words to Israels High Priest, Amaziah, express this.
was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took
care of sycamore-fig trees.
The name Amos means burden bearer. Gods calling is a privilege.
It is also a burden in that the one who proclaims the word of God becomes the
focus of the acceptanceor rejectionof Gods word. (cf. Matthew 11:30
My yoke is easy, my burden light.) A major part of the burden in
this text is that King Jereboam and his High Priest, Amaziah, felt uneasy with
Amos message and presence. Amaziahs words in verse 12 underscore this
"Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. (Amos 7:12 NIV)
Note that God has a way of calling shepherds to minister and lead His
people when their kings and leaders have turned away from Him. Amos, then (as
other shepherd-prophets), becomes a type of Christ.
The Lord took (lakach) me: The Hebrew means to seize, to snatch, to
take in the hand. The image may be like catching a bird in the hand and
grasping it after a focused hunt. Another image is that of marriage. In
this case, the taking is like that of a one lover chasing after another,
trying to woo, trap and win ones heart.
Whats Gods calling for you?
the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the
pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local
monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his
life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do
you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard
because you have been a king."
understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to
you, as Christ leads you."
I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your
throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King
Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being
obedient." When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to
remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good
accountant or teacher or mother or father. Christ expects us to be faithful
where he puts us, and when he returns, we'll rule together with him.
Brown, Key Biscayne, Florida.
About the difficulty of realizing ones expectations
Fiedler's Forecasting Rules. (1) It is very difficult to forecast, especially
about the future. (2) He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground
glass. (3) The moment you forecast, you know you're going to be wrong -- you
just don't know when and in which direction. (4) If you're ever right, never let
them forget it. (Edgar R. Fiedler, economist, quoted in The Official
Rules, Paul Dickson.)
From Niels Bohr, the physicist: "Prediction is a very difficult art,"
he says, "especially when it involves the future.
The rule on staying alive as a financial forecaster is to give them a number
or give them a date, but never give them both at once. Jane Bryant
Life is full of surprises
A. Daily Life
B. Spiritual Life
Amos: Surprised By The Calling
A. His background
B. His calling
C. His work
You: Are You Surprised By The Calling?
A. Because of grace
its really no surpriseall that we are is only by Gods grace
great surprise that we are saved!
B. No surprise that God
calls you to His purpose, either!
C. Its no surprise!
Idea #1: Needed:
Box of Cracker Jacks or a box of childrens cereal with a surprise inside.
box of Cracker Jacks. Ask the children whats special about them. Theres
a surprise inside. Open it up, find the surprise. Before opening it ask,
Whats in it? Another surprise!
surprises us in many ways. Can you think of some of the surprises Jesus gives
us? The greatest surprise, of course, is that Jesus died for us. But, this
surprise, gives us another surprise. That surprise is that Jesus wants us to be
His children and tell others of His love. Are you surprised?
surprised Amos. He was a shepherd. But God surprised him by making Amos a
prophet. God can do the same with
you, too. How do you think God might use you to tell of His love?
Idea #2: Is God calling?
Needed: Cell Phone
Ask children "What is this?" "It's a cell phone." Then ask, "What's the most interesting or fun thing about cell phones?" After receiving answers, focus on how you never know when someone is going to call.
"When the cell phone rings, will you answer it?" Of course! God's calling is like a cell phone. When Jesus saves us and makes us His children, it's like he puts a little "cell phone" of faith in our hearts. And when He calls, will you answer it?
To make this more interesting, have someone call the cell phone right here...answer it...and pretend it's God!
Conclude the message with the following message:
"When God calls us, he can call us to be pastors, church workers, missionaries or even children and adults like us in this church. What does He want us to do? Simply love and serve Him! Will we serve Him? Of course! Why? Because we love him, too."
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM