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All along our Christian journey . . . God is calling us. He is calling us to serve, to pray, to praise, to give, to preach, to teach, to lead, to follow, etc. However, when God is calling, are we willing? Are we willing to listen for the voice of God? Are we willing to act and move? Are we willing to actively seek God? Are we willing to witness to God’s power? Are we willing to worship and praise? Remember, God tells us that “the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). We need more people who are willing to work for the Lord.
In this Christmas narrative from Luke 2:8-20, we see the willingness of the shepherds to listen and obey the voice of God. They have an attentiveness to the activity of God and to the voice of God in their lives. They respond quickly to the direction and call of God on them in the moment. They go to seek Christ and they go where they were directed — to a manger. Then, once they experienced Jesus for themselves, they shared what they had seen and what they had heard (v20). They not only share the Word of God but they also share their personal experience with Christ. They cannot withhold their praise. As we move on this journey of the maturing Christian always remember that God is calling. Are we willing?
Willing to Listen to/for the Call of God. Read verses 8-14. In these verses, God sends a powerful word to the shepherds. The angels . . . the heavenly host appear in a dramatic way. This is a dramatic call from God. The shepherds were willing to listen and to hear from God. His call, however is not always this dramatic. We need to be attentive and listen for God’s voice.
Paul had a dramatic call on the Damascus road in Acts 9 and Moses had a dramatic call from the burning bush in Exodus 3 with the burning bush. But, consider others calls from God. God spoke quietly to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-15. When Elijah listened for the voice of God in 1 Kings 19:11-13, the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire. God’s voice was softer; it was the quiet whisper. David and Nehemiah did not hear the voice of God but felt the burden of God’s justice on their hearts. David’s heart for God spoke in 1 Samuel 17:26-32; Nehemiah’s in Nehemiah 1:1-4 and the rest of the chapter. in slaying Goliath and in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. The burden on their hearts was so heavy they knew God was calling them on his behalf and on behalf of the people.
Take some time to reflect on these verses and discuss the ways God calls us in our personal lives.
Willing to Seek and Respond to God’s Call. Read verse 15 and 16. Are we willing to actively seek and respond to God’s call?
• How long did it take for the shepherds to respond to the voice and direction of God? Did they delay?
• Where did the shepherds go to seek Christ?
The shepherds did not delay in responding to God and to seeking Christ. It is one thing to listen and to hear. It is another to take action in response to God’s call and to be active in seeking Christ. What do we see that shows us about the shepherds’ attentiveness to the call?
• What are some biblical examples of both people being responsive to God and actively seeking God vs. people not being responsive to God and not actively seeking God?
• What are some ways that we do that currently in the church? Do we actively respond to God? Do we actively seek God out?
• Are we willing to respond to God’s call? Are we willing to seek God out?
Willing to Witness and to Worship. Read verses 17-20. Here, we see the shepherds’ response to their time with Christ. They depart and share with others and they praise God for his realness in their lives. This sharing is a blessing to others and draws them to God. How do we respond to our time with Christ?
• The shepherds were willing to share what they heard about God. Part of sharing the gospel of Jesus is what we heard. What are some ways that we hear of the works of Christ? Are we willing to share them?
• The shepherds also shared what they saw/experienced. Remember, not only do we share the word of God and the testimony about God, but we also share our personal experience. We should never cease to be amazed at the power of our own testimony . . . our own witness to draw others to Christ. What are some of the ways that we share what we see and experience with Christ? Are we willing to share our testimony?
• Lastly, the shepherds shared their praise. There is no greater joy than to respond to God’s call or stand on God’s promise and then watch the work of God come to pass in our personal lives. God showed up for these shepherds EXACTLY as he said he would. This brought them joy and they could not withhold their praise. Are we willing to share our praise?
It is critical for the growth of the kingdom of God that his church be willing to answer to listen to God’s call, to respond to God’s call, to seek God out, to share God’s testimony and to share our praised.
God is calling. Are you willing?