- Many are Called but Few are Chosen
Unfortunately, sensing a call from the Lord to teach or preach does not always correlate with the number of students or parishioners one might have. You hear stories about “someone” who worked for 45 years as a missionary in far off “someplaceland” and had only 1 convert. That is supposed to be encouraging. I can tell you it is not.
On the other hand, good for that “someone” who listened to God and stuck it out for 45 years because he or she was sure that God called them to that place at that time. My son told me that four candidates for the GOP nomination this Fall said they felt God had called them to run. This may well be the case, however it is NOT the case that all four of them will win the nomination. Are they tricking themselves or is God chuckling? I don’t know that it is either one. Many are called but few are chosen.
In starting this website I struggled with the idea that perhaps I was delusional or worse, participating in self-promotion. What do I have to offer anyone? Well, I figured, sometimes, like the republican candidates, we may be called by God to get the ball rolling on something that needs to be done even though we may not be the one that will make it to the White House. Like young Samuel, if you hear God’s call you better answer regardless of the outcome.
I spent 8 weeks “promoting” an adult Sunday school class in my church when I first began working there. No adult Sunday school class had ever lasted beyond a few weeks in at least the last 15 years that I had attended there. Even after eight weeks of writing, getting artwork designed and posted all over the church, announcements, bulletins, websites, and monthly newsletters an elder approached me and said, “You know what we really need in this church is a Bible class on Sunday mornings.” I could have DIED.
On the other hand that class lasted. (And that elder never came!) We had a fairly decent turnout every week for all of the years I worked there. And whether there were ten or twenty people there, it was just wonderful to be doing what God called me to do.
It reminds me of the parable Jesus told in Luke 14. A man gave a great banquet and invited all of his friends and neighbors but when the food was all ready and the party was beginning, everyone suddenly had an excuse why they were too busy to come. One had to work, one had to leave on a business trip, another one was leaving on his honeymoon. The man who was giving the party was really angry. All of the food and preparations were going to go to waste. So the man told his servant to go down to the homeless shelter and to bring the people from there and to go to the nursing home and bring those who could make it and even to bring the guys who could be found sleeping in the park and bring them all to his home. “I want my house filled.” Then he added, if anyone of my so called friends changes their minds and wants to come at the last minute, tell them forget it!
I love to entertain so that parable really strikes a chord with me. I have a 6:30 AM high school girls Bible Study and almost every Wednesday morning if there is no one there by 6:31 I begin to panic. I say to myself why do I do this? I could be sleeping. They probably forgot. Maybe no one will even come? What will I do with all of this food? Every week they come, maybe not all nine, but a good showing. And THAT is why we do it ladies and gentleman. Because they come.
When Jesus throws a party he has to go out and bring in the poor and the crippled and the lame so we shouldn’t be too disappointed if CBN (The Christian Broadcasting Network) isn’t broadcasting our class. We might just have to get out there and beat the bushes. In the beginning of my adult Sunday school class I definitely spent MORE time promoting then I did preparing. But pretty soon I spent more time preparing then I spent doing anything else in my life.
In Matthew’s version of the Kingdom Feast, things are not quite as cheery as in Luke’s. The parable takes an awful twist. ““But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”” (Matthew 22:11–14, ESV)
Now I know I’m twisting things here a bit, moving from being the invitee to the invited. But if you remember, we were talking in the beginning about being called, being invited. If you are reading this, I’m hoping it’s because you feel called, invited, to teach or lead or facilitate something. If that is the case, take a warning from Matthew and put on your best clothes, be as prepared as you can to come to the feast. For many are called, but few are chosen.