Where You Don't Know
We talk a lot about call and calling in the life of the church. We talk a lot about finding your call or what God is calling you to do....but what happens when our lives and situations shift and we are no longer able to do what we have been called to in the past?
Join us for a conversation about how to find the possibilities and promise of call in the midst of changes in our lives and circumstances.
Where You Don’t Know
Rev. Leanne Masters
Southern Heights Presbyterian Church
January 18, 2015
So, as you can probably tell, my voice is a little...off...today. Well, it’s actually a whole lot better than it was earlier in the week. On Wednesday, it was deep and growly, sounding a bit like a scene from a horror movie. On Thursday, it was completely gone and I could only talk in exaggerated whispers...so, this is actually a whole lot better.
But, the truth is that if I talk too long this morning, it will quickly go away, and you’ll have a harder and harder time hearing me...plus it will my recovery longer.
So, hey, short sermon today, y’all!
Now, this is not the first time I’ve lost my voice. You might remember last fall when it was gone completely for a Sunday Morning. But each and every time that it happens, I am filled with fear and trepidation and worry, to be honest. Because, as so many people over the last couple of days have said to me, “Wow, with your job...that’s really tough, isn’t it?” Because...how can I do my job, if I can’t talk? How can i fulfill my calling that is on my life if I can’t preach? If I can’t talk to people? If people can’t hear my voice, how can I do what I feel I have been called to do in my life?
Now, my voice will come back. I will be back up and running and in fine form for next Sunday. And everything will be fine.
But, to be honest, all of this tends to spark a little bit of a train of thought for me...What if it didn’t?
What if something were to happen to my voice? What if I were to have a surgery that would make me lose my voice? What if I had an accident, and I could no longer speak? What if my voice didn’t come back?
What would I do? What would I do if I lost my ability to do what I do?
Not just for a living, but for fulfilling God’s calling on my life?
And, I think that’s a tough question. This is what I feel called to...not just the preaching and the teaching, but all of the different aspects of ministry. The walking alongside families in difficult times, the being a friend in need, all of that...and it all requires having a voice.
What would I do?
I know that last week, we all had a bit of a laugh as I said, “Oh, I’m 36 years old,” and we recognize that that’s so old. But I have spent the last 15 years of my life working towards this point...I’m not trained for anything else at this point in time...what would I do if I couldn’t fulfill the calling that’s on my life?
You know, when I think about this, one of the things that comes to my mind is that when we think about God’s call on our lives or the callings that we have in our lives, sometimes it feels that when you’re young, it’s easier. When you’re very young, it’s easier to think about this because your life is so full of possibilities, and you’re open to so many different things. The world is your oyster...so full of possibility. You can do anything, you can go anywhere. No door is yet shut to you, and it’s exciting and it’s wonderful.
Sometimes, like Samuel, all we need is someone to walk alongside us to help us identify and interpret what the call is that God is giving us and help us in the right path...but everything is a possibility. No door is yet shut.
And yet, as we get older and older, those doors begin to close on us in a way. We come to know what our abilities are. We come to know what our capabilities are. We come to know what our gifts and talents and skills are. And we come to know what our limitations are.
For example, one of the limitations that I know is on my life, very much so, is that...I keep telling Anita this: She’s trying to get me to join the choir, saying if you can sing in the shower, you can sing in the choir...but I can’t even sing in the shower! That’s one of my limitations. I am not gifted with a singing voice, and I know that about myself.
As we get older, we know what our abilities are, what our capabilities are, what our gifts are, and we know what our limitations are. And that’s a good thing, because it helps direct us in the way that we need to go. But, again, it begins to feel like sometimes those doors begin to shut on us.
And then...we get on a path. We know what God has called us to do, we know where God has called us to go. We have an idea of what that looks like, actually.
And then...our lives shift and change. And as we get older, they tend to shift and change more and more.
And our abilities and our situations in life shift and change, too.
And sometimes, that thing that we once felt so called to do is out of our reach or it’s taken away from us. And we feel a bit lost. A bit adrift. We think that our call is over, and we have nothing left to do.
So, what do we do when we can no longer do the thing that we feel called to do?
Call is a funny thing, though. Especially the calling of God on our lives. Because God takes a look at us and doesn’t see what we see. God doesn’t see that Leanne Masters has this specific set of gifts and skills and talents and capabilities. God doesn’t see that Leanne Masters has this set of limitations on her life.
God looks at us and sees only what was a reality when we were young...that every door is open and our lives are filled with nothing but possibilities. Because in God’s eyes, no matter where we are or what is going on in our lives, we are as open to the possibilities of this world and serving God and following God’s call as we were when we were young and full of that excitement and energy and wonder.
Because like Nathanael, God looks at us and see us and sees into us and knows who we really are and what we are capable of accomplishing. All that we can do. All that we can be. And all the ways that we can follow.
In that, God calls us to things and to people and to places that, perhaps, we didn’t think was possible. God calls us in ways that we don’t think that we we’re capable of accomplishing. Because we know, right? We know where our abilities are, we know where our limitations are...and God sets all that aside...
And here’s the joy filled piece of all of that: Not only does God call us to the secret strengths and the gifts that we may not know that we have...but God then equips us to do the work that we’re called to do! And it may not be in the way that we expected...and it may not look the way that we thought that it would...but where we do not have strength, God lifts us up, and where we do not have the words, God gives us voice. Where we do not think that we have the abilities or the capabilities, God gives us the tools and equips us for his ministry in this world.
God calls and leads us and takes us by our hand and shows us the way to go.
Again, it may not look the way that it did 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago...But God is calling you to do amazing and wonderful things in this world. And as our lives shift and change, and as the world around us shifts and changes, God takes a look deep inside of us and sees who we are and where God can place us in this world to accomplish God’s amazing, wonderful tasks in this world.
God is doing amazing things in us and through us in this world. And we are as open to the possibilities as ever in God and through God. Let us rejoice in God’s call on our lives, and trust in him to lead us where we shall go.
Let us pray.