Are you familiar with the kid’s game, who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? It goes something like this, someone starts off by saying “Brian stole the cookie from the cookie jar”‘ and my response is “WHO ME, COULDN’T BE!” Then next I say someone else’s name, perhaps yours, “you stole the cookie jar”, and you respond, “WHO ME, COULDN’T BE!” And it goes on and on with someone else’s name being called out, always with the same response, WHO ME.
Is this also how we respond when we hear the Lord calling our name? Yes, we have been called. We have been called to share His good news, to bloom where we are planted. Is our response “who me, couldn’t be?” Perhaps on Sundays when we hear the sermon, we hear God calling our name. Then we look around the church at the others who we might think are more worthy or more qualified and we respond “who me, couldn’t be“, and we call out their name in the quiet of our mind.
I am sure there are times we respond with, I am too busy or I am not worthy, or I am too big of a sinner, or I am not trained in Theology, or (fill in your favorite excuse), and we tell the Lord, I am unable to answer your call today.
Throughout Biblical history and to this very day, God has often chosen to call the most unlikely people to be His followers and His apostles. It is not unusual for them to respond initially with “who me, couldn’t be.” This past Sunday we heard Amos respond, “not me, I am just a dresser of sycamores, not a professional prophet”. In Sunday’s homily it was presented this way: “God calls ordinary people from their ordinary lives to do extraordinary things.” Let’s take a look at a few people of the Bible and see their initial response and look at their background before their calling to see how qualified they were.
First let’s take a look at Moses. When God called Moses he objected many times. God said to Moses, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Ex 3:11) and Moses replied, “Who am I to go to the Pharaoh?” Next he said, “Please my Lord, I have never been eloquent…for I am slow and hesitant of speech.” (Ex 4:10).Eventually of course Moses did agree to follow God’s call.
Jeremiah in Jer 1:6 responded to the Lord by saying; “Lord God, I do not know how to speak, I am too young.” Then there is Jonah. One day the Lord spoke to Jonah, son of Amittai. He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and speak out against its people.” Jonah, however, set out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord.
As to the subject of are we qualified, let’s look at the qualifications of some key people in the Bible. Matthew was a tax collector who extorted unjust payments from the Jews for his own benefit. Mary Magdalene needed to be healed from seven demons, and Peter was at times a hot headed and impulsive fisherman.
In Cursillo and the other similar movements, we are told God has called us each by name. He called us as we are, with all of our faults and weaknesses. How will we respond? Perhaps we clearly hear the call. We know God is calling us, but we respond like the rich man in the parable. You will recall the rich man went away sad after Jesus called him to sell all he had and follow Him. Mt 19:22.
If you feel unprepared for this calling, or unworthy, or you simply don’t know what it is He is calling you to or you are simply afraid, seek Him out in prayer. Pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pray for strength. He will not call you and then leave you unprepared for the task.
Today if you hear God calling you, try to respond with the words from the popular song, Here I am Lord. “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart.” Then when we do respond to our calling we need to also reach out to others and lead them to Christ so they too, can respond to their call.
Dear Lord, if today I hear you calling me, don’t allow me to sail in the opposite direction like Jonah. Lord , I know without your loving guidance and the help of your Holy Spirit, I cannot fulfill, this calling. Lord I know you would not call me and then abandon me. So Lord, I enthusiastically say YES to your call. Lead me Lord, your servant is listening. Perhaps the best example of how we shoud answer our calling is Mary’s response “may it bedone to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)
WHO ME, MUST BE!