What does it take to be accepted by those to whom God sends us? In an earlier reading this week, the prophet Isaiah volunteers to join the new thing that God presents and is confronted by a task that seems destined to be unsuccessful. The apostle Paul is confronted with a church community that has internal struggles, theological questions, and leadership challenges. He tries to legitimize his position by focusing on the message that is the foundation of any Christian community, namely the good news of their salvation through Jesus Christ.
Paul then asserts that he has been called as an apostle in spite of himself. He is an apostle because Christ made him an apostle. Paul knows that trying to justify oneself as worthy of being a proclaimer of the message of Christ is futile. One is better advised to take the path of the prophet Isaiah and admit one’s unworthiness. Success comes not because one is worthy or even because of diligence in doing the task of ministry. Regardless of the form of one’s proclamation—by word or deed—faithfulness to the task is the only requirement. It is only the grace of God that brings growth through the acceptance of the good news.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced preachers to find new ways to deliver the gospel message. Many who adapted quickly to the technological requirements were able to deliver the message with greater facility, and some even garnered an expansive online following. However, with a plethora of preachers and sermons to choose from, it was the substance of the good news—the grace of God—that sustained the increase and claimed new believers of the gospel proclamation.
Gracious God, direct our thoughts, actions, and words so the good news of your amazing grace will reach those who need it most. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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