8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Ė Isaiah 6:8 AMP
Chapter Six of Isaiah describes a vision of God as well as Godís call on Isaiahís life to be a holy prophet. Isaiah seemed more than eager to serve God, and he was energized at the opportunity God had placed before him. And serve he did. Time estimates put Isaiahís prophetic ministry at sixty years, and Jewish tradition suggests that his ministry ended because the wicked King Manasseh of Judah had him executed by sawing him in half.
Todayís verse in particular is used very often as a rallying cry in Christian circles. We should all be eager to answer Godís call on our lives at any moment. However, too many times this is not the case. We allow the pressures of the world to weigh us down. A heavy workload and trying to provide for our family leave us sometimes not only wondering where the seemingly peaceful Christian life can be found, but also pondering if God actually cares about us at all.
This is when the church becomes a driving force in our lives. Our pastor or maybe even a visiting evangelist delivers a message with Isaiahís words: here am I; send me. Immediately our desire to serve God reaches a new height. We volunteer all of our free time at church week in and week out. We mow the lawn, work with children on Wednesday nights, and even help out in the coffee shop on Sunday mornings because our white mocha frappe is better than anything you can get at Starbucks.
But the problem is that weíre not getting anywhere. Our lives are not more blessed; our lives are busier than ever. Our eagerness and energy among our fellow believers havenít drawn us closer to God. In fact, as time goes by, we begin to grow resentful of the same church that we were pouring ourselves into. The feel good Christian world of gumdrops and butterflies that everyone else has seems more like a dormant volcano on the verge of eruption to you. In your eagerness to answer Godís call, you moved without taking any other measures. Isaiah didnít do that.
Read Chapter Six of Isaiah in its entirety. In verse five, Isaiah speaks to God about how his life and the life of the Jews in general are in a state of disrepair. How does God respond? In verse seven, God forgives all of Isaiahís sins.
Now I know that through our relationship with Christ we are all forgiven. But I also know that there are people in ministry positions all over the world who claim God sent them, but are unwilling to lay all their sins before the God who can forgive them all. To not do so is not only inviting disaster on yourself, but also on those you are ministering to.
Itís also important to point out that after Isaiah answered Godís call, he didnít go do his own thing. He followed Godís instructions. How many of you have ever answered a here am I, send me call on your life then threw yourself into whatever you could and hoped you got things right? You may have become a pastor when God wanted you to open a homeless shelter. You may have decided to work in the church coffee shop when God wanted you to keep the nursery. You may have accepted a position on the church board when God wanted you to be a greeter. You could have thrown yourself into a dozen things at church when God wanted you working in the interdenominational food kitchen downtown and not involved in your home church at all.
I can say such things because I lived it for years. I have known for a long time that God had placed a call on my life but I was unwilling to ask Him what He wanted me to do. I even answered a here am I, send me message with much enthusiasm. But I was the energizer bunny: I kept going and going, beating my drum, running around in circles. I was too eager to run rather than sit still long enough to ask God what He wanted me to do. And to top it all off, I never took the first step of complete and total repentance.
But things are different now. I have answered Godís call. I have by no means reached perfection, but I have been forgiven for all of my past sins, not matter how hidden I thought they were. It took me quite some time to get there, but I am forever thankful to Him about where I am now.
How do you get there? How do you keep that energy that seems to fade away as time goes by? Answer Godís call to service. He could use a sermon or revival to put a call on your life, but donít understand that call to mean that a church is the only place you can serve. Donít jump into service in a church because itís the easiest thing to do or the church seems to need someone who can make good coffee. Stop like Isaiah did and listen to God. When the energizer bunny stops twirling those drumsticks in the air, youíll still be going strong. Here am I, Lord. Send me!