1b: "The LORD called me before I was born, while I was in my mother's womb He named me." - As we read these verses in Isaiah, we can first see the promise and purpose of the Messiah being fulfilled. But, with further study and as we recognize that Christ is living within us, we can personalize this Servant's Song as an outline for our own call into ministry.
3: "And He said to me, 'You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." - Through our response to our call into servanthood we find that our purpose is to glorify God in everything we do.
4: "But I said, 'I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the LORD and my reward with my God." - There are times in ministry when we feel that our efforts are in vain - nothing seems to be happening as we envisioned it.
5: "And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, and that Israel might be gathered to Him." - But God wants us to persevere with our task of bringing the world to Him.
6b: "I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." - As we proclaim the good news of God's love we will shine forth like a beacon to the world.
7b: "Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." - We are chosen for a greater purpose - a purpose that exceeds our greatest expectations and one that we may not be able to see from our limited viewpoint.
Points to Contemplate:
Has the Lord called you into ministry?
Do you accept as you read these verses that, as a follower of Christ, these verses are written about you as much as they are of the Messiah? Do you realize that no matter what task you undertake, you are performing that task as a servant of God? As one of God's servants, do you find that you are living your life in ways that bring glory to God? As you prepare for a new day in a new year, what steps will you take to insure that God is glorified by your every action?
Have you labored in vain - or, at least, has it felt that way? As you look around your church community, does it seem that often times your church is stuck in quicksand and no matter what you do; the same challenges and obstacles remain in your path? Have you been persistent in study, work, and prayer only to see your attendance numbers in church and Sunday School decline or see the changes you had hoped to implement simply stagnate and die? When this happens, do you lose hope? Do you wonder if you are on the right path? Are you looking for the wrong reward? If you are feeling despair and hopelessness should you turn your focus on God and reap the rewards He has in mind?
Are you a "light to the nations?" Are you bringing God's promise of salvation into the world wherever you go? Do you recognize that this promise is not simply a promise of eternal glory but is also a promise of change and transformation to all hearts that are opened to the love of Christ? If you are having difficulty professing the gospel to others could it possibly be because your own heart hasn't been totally given over to Christ? Are you prostrating yourself before the Lord - giving ever aspect of your life into His loving care? Promises of the Gospel:
Stand up and rejoice! The Lord of all creation has called you into His flock. He has created you for this moment. He has blessed you richly and deeply. He has filled you with His Spirit. Now, in return, become the beacon you are called to be. Shed the light of God into the darkness of the world and do so without end. Your labors will not be in vain. The kingdom of heaven is at hand and everything you do will bring glory to God. Do not despair or lose hope but, instead, keep your eyes fixed on God. Understand that in all circumstances, He is with you. This is your reward. This is your eternal glory - a relationship with the Lord of all Creation - Abba, your loving Father.