10 And the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel! Then Samuel answered, Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. Ė 1 Samuel 3:10 AMP
Samuel is one of my favorite people in the Bible. As a great prophet and Israelís last judge, he was an in-your-face kind of guy. He anointed Saul and David as kings of Israel. He cut King Agag into pieces with the sword. Even in death, he came up from the grave to tell Saul he would join the ranks of Hades the following day.
In todayís verse, God calls to Samuel as a young boy. He had already spent the majority of his life in the temple. But although he had been in the Lordís service for years, he neither knew nor recognized Godís voice. Eli had to tell him how to respond to God.
Do you recognize Godís voice? Can you hear God speaking to you? Or are you too busy doing things and spending so much time praying that you donít stop long enough to listen? I was called by God several years ago into ministry. I even took some correspondence courses so I could still provide for my family. The problem was that I was so busy in civic organizations and working that I just quit those studies. I listened to God, but I was unwilling to follow through with Godís plan for my life. Now, years later, after too many trials to count, I am finally choosing to follow God with all my heart. I cannot tell you how good it feels to listen and do rather than just listen.
You see, anyone can listen to God. Samuel listened to God. Elijah listened to God. Paul listened to God. But not one of them listened and in turn sat idly by after God spoke to them. They were men of action. They were Godís servants and followed His instructions. The God that spoke to them is the same one who speaks to you. Are you willing to listen? More importantly, are you willing to do what He tells you? Many times Christians are willing to listen, but much less willing to act.
Where do you fit? Do you listen to God above all else? Does your pastorís word carry more weight than Godís Word? Do you follow the instructions of your boss even if he has asked you to do something illegal? Are you more inclined to be involved in a civic organization rather than seek Godís will for your life? Do you follow God with all your heart, or do you just cry out to Him when things get tough? Answers to such questions will shed some light about who you truly serve.
24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in). Ė Matthew 6:24 AMP
Some versions of the Bible replace the word mammon with money, but anything can be your master. Civic organizations can be your master. Work can be your master. A church can even be your master. If you become engrossed in anything that would take your time and your heart away from God, you make yourself a slave to it. God may be speaking to you, but you will be too busy to listen. Trust me, I have been there. Remember Jesusí words: you canít serve God and something else.
Donít think that Iím saying that only those in ministry listen to God. God is present in all of our lives. He may not call you into a specific ministry, but that doesnít mean you canít serve Him doing exactly what you are doing right now. He will show you how to be a better employee. He will show you how to be the parent your children have always needed. And He will show you how to be the perfect spouse that your better half always envisioned you being.
I cannot count the number of times I have told Marlo over the past couple of years that I didnít want to ever get out of Godís will for our lives. I want to hear Him speaking to me every step of the way. Itís not that Iím expecting anything; itís just that I realize that Iím here to serve Him. I do it because I love God. Can you say the same thing? Are you ready to love and serve God with your whole heart? Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.