Throughout the corridors of time God has had a called, chosen, and faithful generation. Beginning with the young man Abel down to a young lady named Ellen G. White, the singular call to live a life set apart for God echoes through the epochs of time. These young people heeded the call of God and gave their lives to God and His cause.
A perusal of Scripture attests to this extraordinary calling to the ordinary person. Consider Abraham, whom God called to migrate from Ur and Haran to the unknown foreign land of Canaan (Gen. 12:1; cf. Heb. 11:8-9).
The Anatomy of the Call
The call of Abraham presented unique challenges. It required Abraham to leave the comforts of his country and family. There was no Google to find out what the conditions were like in Canaan. He could have asked if the soil was fertile and the land big enough to accommodate his agricultural and pastoral projects. Was the climate friendly? What about the people of Canaan—were they friendly or hostile?
The call of God never leaves us unchallenged and uninterrupted. It is radical in nature; it shakes the foundation of our worldviews and worldly constructs. It challenges us to embrace the antithetical principle, the either/or mindset. We must choose to
- be in the light or in the darkness (Gen. 1:4);
- believe in creation or macroevolution (Gen. 1-11);
- be inside the ark or outside the ark (Gen. 7);
- eat clean foods or unclean foods (Lev. 11);
- serve God or Baal (1 Kings 18:21);
- be among those on the narrow way or the broad way (Matt. 7);
- be among those who gather with God or those who scatter (Matt. 12);
- be the wheat or the tare (Matt. 13);
- be among the wise virgins or the foolish virgins (Matt. 25);
- be among the sheep or the goats (Matt. 25);
- be the prodigal son or the elder brother (Luke 15);
- be hot or cold (Rev. 3);
- receive the seal of God or the mark of the beast (Rev. 14);
- be in Jerusalem or Babylon (Rev. 18);
- be within the city walls or outside the city walls (Rev. 20:7-9);
- be just or unjust (Rev. 22:11);
- be righteous or unrighteous (Rev. 22:11);
- be holy or unholy (Rev. 22:11).
The call of God is a call to separate oneself from everything and anyone that is not of God. Such was the call before Abraham; such is the call that is before us today.
The Blessings of the Call
Abraham’s life was not predestined to a certain direction. He had the freedom to choose to leave or to stay. He had the opportunity to respond to God’s call, and this he did freely. Because of Abraham’s decision to obey, God truly blessed him in temporal as well as in spiritual means (Gen. 12:2-4; Rom. 4:1-16). Most of all, his legacy is forever remembered as “the friend of God” (James 2:23).
Abraham’s willingness to follow God stands as one of the best testimonies of what God can do for one who is truly desiring to do and follow His will. Commenting on Abraham’s response, Ellen G. White writes, “The happiest place on earth for [Abraham] was the place where God would have him to be” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 126). Elsewhere she adds, “Those who in everything make God first, last, and best are the happiest people in the world” (Messages to Young People, p. 38).
The call of God is a universal call that is to extend to “every kindred, tongue and people” (Rev. 14:6-12). As Abraham was called out of Ur, the church (from Latin ekklesia, meaning “the called out”) is also tasked with the calling-out message, “Come out of [Babylon], my people” (Rev. 18:4).
Have you heeded God’s extraordinary call in your life? Are you letting Him use you to call others to Him?