Who are you talking to?

Matthew 4:12-23

What is a call? Is it something only reserved for those of us who are led to ministry? Is call a complicated thing, you can't begin to understand it? Is call having some certain God encounter that is just for you? This morning Matthew is introducing us to this concept in all sorts of ways.

First isn't John the Baptist a called figure? Even before he was born. Remember his birth story from Luke? His father doesn't believe a word of what God is telling him in the temple so he can't speak until John is named. Last week he realized Jesus call was greater than his own. Jesus is the one who should be first. Now John has been arrested and what he said is coming true. Was John called to prison?

The writer of the gospel tells us about the quote from Isaiah of where hope lies for Israel. Its a reminder not to forget God's call in the midst of empire. Remember we have rich promises of freedom, of being a light to the nations, and of being different from empire by remembering all those years of exile, slavery, and return. Whether it is in remembering Egypt or Babylon or just feeling lost because they were small Israel is called.

Then we have the fishermen, brothers who drop everything and follow when Jesus calls. What kind of call would make you drop everything and follow? What kind of person would Jesus have to be in order to immediately come and follow? Had they heard something or did they just trust and go? We don't get anything which tells us of their motivation even though it is an immediate action.

Then Jesus travels and heals people and the crowds follow. Is this a call? We sometimes make this word too holy and sacred, too wrapped up in importance and forget we are all called. We just have to be sensitive to those times of encounter. Look up the definition of call, its lengthy, call can be a loud noise, a soft voice on the other end of the line, calling direction in a square dance, call the cards, or to make a visit.

God's call to us comes in all sorts of ways. Developing the tools to see them or hear them when they come is an exercise in spiritual listening or observing. Its like Elijah waiting for God to pass by and all these spectacular things are happening fire, earthquake, storm and God is in the stillness. Its like reading the prophetic message of Isaiah this morning and not immediately jumping to the Matthew passage but trying to hear what it sounded like to a people in captivity.

The only way to develop these spiritual muscles is to begin to pay attention to your day. Reflect, give thought to what has happened. Where did you see God, where was God calling you, where did you see God, or where did you most feel in touch with God? They're good questions in which to start cultivating those times when we can hear God's call. Its important for us to do these, to ask deeply where we are being called because we will find a path to follow in the midst of all the questions.

Sometimes it doesn't lead us to the fuzzy warm places, but the places of hardness in our own hearts. To begin to hear God's voice in the disagreement, in the voice of our enemy. This is why its important that John's call remains with us in chains. We need to be open to all the ways in which God is calling us to listen, to reconciliation, to the hard places where we have to look at ourselves. It is necessary tot foster the fullness of God's call to us.

So take the time. Listen, pray, reflect on everyday in order to begin to recognize the process. Learn how to evaluate, share it in a diary, with your spouse, or with a friend. Can you hear God's call everyday?