Those Who Are Called – November 6, 2022, Combined Worship
I Corinthians 1:18-31
November 6, 2022
I was thinking about the best way to do the two things we are doing today. We’re doing Stewardship dedication, and leadership recognition. And the more I thought about it, the more it seemed altogether appropriate that we do them “all together.”
Think about it! Both of those things are about this idea of “call.” Paul wrote, “Consider your call brethren (and sistren), not many of you were wise, according to worldly standards, not many of you were powerful, not many of you were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.”
I love those words! They are some of my favorite words in all of scripture! And they are all about the “call” of God. And I get to read it today because we’re talking today about “those who are called.” And yes, as we do this, we are recognizing those who are called in a “special way.” We are recognizing our leaders – our Deacons, our Trustees, and our Elders. We believe they are “called” to what they do in the church. And pastors are “called,” as well. In fact, in the Presbyterian system, a pastor’s contract is officially termed a “call.” That word appears right at the top.
So we recognize that certain people are given a special call by God. And that “special call” is not unlike the “call” of Abraham, and Moses, and Jeremiah! But in all of that, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we are all called by God. When Paul whote these words, “Consider your call…” he was addressing the whole church.
And so, all of us are asked to consider our call. And in Stewardship, we acknowledge that. We recognize that we are all called to serve in the church. And we are called to give of ourselves. And we think about the three “T’s.” We think about our time, our talent, and our treasure. And we also recognize that it’s not up those we call to be our leaders to do all the work of the church. Their job is to lead all of us in doing the work of the church. They lead all of us in what has been called a “servant ministry.”
Two weeks ago, I reminded you of that. Do you remember? I said then that church is not something that happens because “somebody else” makes it happen. Church is something that happens because all of us make it happen!
Well, this is how all of us make it happen! We pledge ourselves to support the church, to be good stewards of all that God has given us! And as I’ve been so happy to say lately, you’ve answered the call, you’ve been good stewards! And I’ve been encouraging you to “keep up the good work!”
As you do so, I would also say, take pride in what you’re doing here – like Paul was proud of those Philippians – and those Corinthians. And think of Paul’s words to the Philippians, saying that he was confident that “God, who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.”
And so this sermon today is about all of us. Because “those who are called” are not just Deacons, Trustees, and Elders. “Those who are called” are all of us! And as we think about that, I want you to think again about Paul’s words. “Consider your call, brethren – and sistren.” And consider how you are called. What is God calling you to do in the church? That’s a different question than “how much of your time, talent, and treasure are you going to give?” Isn’t it? It’s a much deeper question! How committed are you to the life of the church? How committed should you be? How committed is God calling you to be.
And as you think about that, remember that God doesn’t call great people to do great work. That’s not his usual way of doing things. No, he calls ordinary people – to do great work! So what Paul told the Corinthians is the norm for God. “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.”
Eternal God, help us to be the people you call us to be. Help each of us to know that we are important in your kingdom. Help us to know the joy of being good stewards of all that you have given us. For these things we pray in our Savior’s name, and for the sake of his kingdom, Amen!