“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3:9b
I would love to hear what the Lord has to say about our world. In a matter of minutes after waking each morning, my phone starts that little “bleep” sound telling me that there is a world beyond my bedroom that wants my attention and tell me something. I know it is entirely up to me if I want to listen – the temptation to glance at the first few paragraphs of a newsfeed is real. Lots of folks have something to say these days, and I don’t need to tell you not all of it is encouraging, not all of it is relevant, and not all of it is true.
This morning was no different. I awoke before the first sliver of pink was on the eastern horizon and there it was that “bleep” of stories vying for my attention. I like to stay as informed as any of us, but at times I feel like I am being assaulted before I can even focus my eyes and rub the sleep out of them. And, at other times, I deliberately seek such ‘assault’ by scrolling down my phone and clicking on links because something has caught my eye and I want to know more.
Like little Samuel I wonder – “who is calling me?” This wonderful little story, which we heard in our worship service last Sunday (I preached on it), describes the young boy Samuel (set apart at birth for service to the Lord, but too young to have had much formal training) who is awakened three times by a sound, which we are told is the Lord calling his name. Each time he assumes it can’t be God, so he goes to his mentor, the old Priest Eli, for explanation – assuming it was Eli who was calling him.
Finally, Eli, aged and apparently not amused that his precious sleep keeps getting interrupted, all but says “Go back to bed. If you hear the voice again say ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening’” (and by implication, stop bothering me!) That is what Samuel does, and of course he hears God call him yet again. The message is not pleasant or easy to accept. It involves a sobering assessment of his mentor Eli and the judgement of God upon him and his household.
The story struck me again this morning as I was going from link to link on my phone looking for this or that. A Bible verse appeared. It was a verse, if you will, that provides a pretty good assessment of what God has in mind for his creation today and any day. 1 John 4:20-21 “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
I am not sure what else will pop up on my phone today, what I will find accidentally, what I will diligently search for, or if any of it will be from God. But if this is all our Good Lord has to say to me today, I would do well to give it some thought, don’t you agree?
I wish you all a very grace-filled day. Be blessed. Be well. Be safe. Pastor Z+