Robert Morris — My Committed Calling
Alright, I want to ask you to turn to two passages of scripture, 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. So I actually have a lot of scripture in the message. Those are the only two that I'm just asking you to turn to those two. But 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. And we're in a series right now called "Why Am I Here". And this weekend, I want to talk about "My Committed Calling". In other words, what do I, to what do I commit my life? All of us, all of us are called to ministry; not vocational ministry, but to ministry. All of us have been given gifts, different gifts, and we all have something God is calling us to do in the kingdom of God.
I want you, just for a moment just to look around. Just go ahead. Just look around at all the people. Alright? No matter which room you're in, look at all the people. Alright? Okay, now, look back at me. Think about this. The people that are in the buildings that we just looked around in, think about all the family, all the friends, all the coworkers, all the people that all the people in the buildings that we looked around in, all the people we will meet. 'Kay. Just so you know, I can't win all of them to Jesus. I can't. But we can. As a matter of fact, my job as a pastor is actually to equip you to do the ministry. It's not to do the ministry; it's to equip you to do the ministry.
Again, we'll get to those other passages in a moment. Let me read you some. Ephesians 4:11-12, "And He Himself," speaking of Jesus, "gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists," notice the word some 'cause you don't need many, "and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry", So what is your ministry? How do you know? And before I get into the "how do you know", I have to cover this, that most of the great men and women you read about in the Bible were not in vocational ministry. I don't know if you've ever thought about it, but you could do a little study. Most of them were not.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not in vocational ministry. Genesis 13:2, "Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold". So we know he wasn't a preacher. Genesis 26:12, "Then Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him". Now, we use that verse sometimes for giving. That wasn't talking about giving. That was talking about sowing crops. He was a farmer. Gideon was threshing wheat when the Lord called him. David was a shepherd. Amos was a shepherd. Amos 1:1, "The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders". Nehemiah 1:1, Nehemiah said, "For I was the king's cupbearer". Nehemiah worked for the government. Matthew was an IRS agent, which shows God can use anyone.
Peter and Andrew, James and John were fishermen. Look at this verse, Mark 1:20, "Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him". You know what hired servants are? Employees. They had a business. They were in business. Andrew, Peter, James, John, Paul. Acts 18:1, "After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla — So because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers".
Wow. Greatest apostle to ever live made tents. Colossians 4:14, "Luke the beloved physician". Luke was a physician. And Rahab was a working girl. I'm sorry. Obviously she repented. So all these people in the Bible that we read about didn't have a job like I have. They had jobs like you have. And they're the ones that did the great things in the Bible.
So how do you find out what your calling is and minister in that calling, no matter what your vocation is? Alright? So here's number one: draw near to God. Number one, draw near to God. Psalms 73:28. This is actually Asaph that wrote this Psalm. He wrote 12 Psalms. "It's good for me to draw near to God". Well, what if we don't feel like drawing near? What if we've had a bad day? Or a bad week? Or a bad year? Or a bad life? Hebrew 7:19 says, "For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand," I really like the other hand, by the way, "there is the bringing in of a better hope," that's Jesus, grace, "through which we draw near to God". We can draw near, even if we've had a bad day or a bad week, because we come by grace.
Hebrews — Let me read you this one. Hebrews 10:22, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled form an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water". God has washed you. He's washed you. He's made you clean. You can draw near to God. A while back, I was mowing. I came in, I was covered — You know how you get covered dust, dirt, grass, sweaty. I came in, I said to Debbie, "Give me a hug". How many of you think she hugged me? No. Okay. She said, "You go take a shower, then we'll talk about the hugging".
'Kay. Can I just tell you something? God's given you a shower. You're clean. He made you clean. You can draw near to God, no matter if you've had a bad day. He's made you clean through grace, not through works. What if you're in a bondage or stronghold and you just can't seem to get free and it's a sin that you just tell God over and over and over again that you're never going to do? Well, what about the Gadarene demoniac? The guy who was, that lived naked in a cemetery? He was pretty much bound by Satan. Mark 5:6, "When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him". He drew near, even though he was demonized.
What about if you're grieving or going through a tough time, or sad, or even mad at God because He didn't show up when you thought He should? 'Member Mary and Martha? After the death of Lazarus? John 11:20, "Now Martha, as soon as she heard Jesus was coming, went and met Him", Drew near. Then verses 28 and 29, "She went her way secretly and called Mary her sister, saying, The teacher has come and is calling for you. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him". She drew near, even though they were mad at Jesus at the time.
What if you feel like your world's come to an end and you have no hope anymore? After the death of Jesus, Peter said, "I'm going fishing". Then Jesus comes and He's walking along the shore, but they don't recognize Him. And He said, "Cast your nets on the other side," and it filled up. And then, one of the disciples said, "Man, that's Jesus". Look at verse seven, John 21:7. "Therefore that disciples whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It's the Lord! And when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment for he had removed it, and plunged into the sea". He drew near to God.
So whether you're having a bad day or a good day... What about if you've been away from God for a long time? 'Member the prodigal son? Luke 15:20, "And he arose and came to his father," or drew near. "But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him". I'm just trying to tell you it's always a good time to draw near to God. And you're never going to discover and minister in the calling God has for you without drawing near to God.
That's number one. Alright? Here's number two. Discover and develop your gifts. Discover and develop. Discover and develop your gifts. Now, if you're in 1 Corinthians 12, I actually wanted to read most of the chapter; so later, that's your homework. Alright? You can read it. 1 Corinthians 12, look at verse 14. "For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, Because I'm not a hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the ear should say," because I'm not Pastor Robert, or Tony Evans, or any other leader in the body of Christ, "Because I'm not an eye, I'm not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased".
You know what that says? That all the members are important. They're all important. And this goes on to say, "And the ones that you can't see are the most important". The ones that stand on the platform are not the most important. In other words, He's talking about a physical body, so the organs that we can't see, pretty important. Alright, let me say it this way. We've got some really important people in the children's ministry right now, extremely important people. Do you know that we have people every week that minister to the special needs children? And you may never even see them. And do you know that at our buildings, we have people every week who are here from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. cleaning the buildings for us? They're important. And I would encourage you just to say, "Thank you," every now and then when you see someone like that. Think about this. The ones you can't see are the most important.
Think about Noah's ark, okay? It's got boards on it, right? Think. The boards that you can't see, that are under the water line, they're the most important ones. Alright, look at Romans 12. If you were in 1 Corinthians 12, maybe you put a marker there at Romans 12:4. "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another". Verse six, very important, "Having then gifts", So we all have gifts. "Differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them". Let us use them. In other words, let us discover them and develop them.
Some of you might not know this, but I have intercessors who pray for me, who pray for Debbie and me and my family. I meet with them about every six to eight weeks, depending on the schedule. But I communicate every week. When I meet with my assistant, I dictate a letter that says, "This is what's going on, please pray for this, please pray for this, please pray for this". I've had times where I have called the leader of the intercessors directly and said, "Hey, don't want to wait until I meet with Karen," my assistant, "this next week to communicate, to send and email. I just want to tell you what we're going through. Would you send an email to the intercessors and have them pray"? And we've seen immediate results.
These are people who are called to intercession. I chose them. Now, I want to tell you something about these people. I've had, for about 12 years, 10 to 12 years, somewhere around there, they would know how long we've been meeting, nobody knows who they are. They've never gone around bragging, "You know, I'm one of Pastor Robert's intercessors". I have seven couples. And I say couples; one of the ladies, wives, has already gone on to heaven. I actually think she's my best intercessor 'cause I think she's up there saying, "Hey, are You seeing this"? She's cheering me on. She's still interceding for me.
But they didn't come tell me, "Hey, I have the gift of intercession; I want to be the senior pastor's intercessor". They started developing their gift years before I ever asked 'em. And I saw that gift; so when I decided to choose some personal intercessors, I chose people who were mature in that gift. They discovered it years ago, that hey, this is a gift I have. See, we all pray; but there's a gift of intercession. We all witness; there's a gift of evangelism. You follow me? And I went to them and said, "Hey, I need some prayer". And these are people mature in that.
This past week, we talked about discovering and developing our gifts, this last week, two of our grandchildren had birthdays, so we got together and had a birthday party. And let me tell you what we did at that. You know, we ate and did all that stuff; but then, they discovered their gifts. They unwrapped 'em and discovered 'em. Then you know what they did? They started developing their skill with their new gifts. One's two years old, Addie; she got a tricycle. We started teaching her how to use the gift. What I'm saying is when you discover it, you might not be as good as you think you are at it yet. It may take a while to grow in that.
The other one, eight years old, Grayden; he got a skateboard. We're out in the street. He's developing his gift. Are y'all following me? They discovered their gifts, and then they started, now they're developing their skill to use their gifts. I had a birthday the week before, and unbeknownst to me, my family had bought me something and so we came back in from doing the skateboard and the tricycle and all, and where I was sitting there, there was a gift. And they were all excited. "Papaw, open your gift".
So I opened mine and it was great, you know. But that night, all the men know what I was doing. I was reading the owner's manual. I was reading the owner's manual, how to use my gift. It's the same with spiritual gifts. All of you have received material gifts. You unwrapped it. You discovered it. But then, you've got to develop, right? I'd love to ask you personally, "Do you know what your gifts are"? Do you know? 'Cause we can help you. We can help you. Do you know what your spiritual gifts are, and are you developing them for the kingdom?
And here's number three: do something. Just do something. Now, when I say do something, you might not start off doing what you think you're called to do. You might not start at the top. In other words, if you think you're called to preach and I said "draw near to God, develop your gift, grow in it, and then do something," don't send me an email this week and say, "Pastor Robert, I had a quiet time; I read a chapter in the Bible; I'm ready to preach at Gateway". You might not quite be ready yet for that.
Do you know where Elisha started? Elisha, the successor of Elijah. I actually asked some of the pastors around here this week, and none of 'em remembered this verse. It's a pretty obscure verse. 2 Kings 3:11, "Jehoshaphat said, Is there no prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord by him? So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, Elisha the son of Shaphat is here," watch, "who poured water on the hands of Elijah". When Elijah said, "Hey, I'd like to wash my hands," Elisha would bring the water and pour it on his hands. Remember, Elisha had twice the anointing of Elijah. But he didn't start there. He started as the water boy.
Do you know where Paul started? Who wrote a third of the New Testament, according to books? Acts 11:27, "And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul," which we know is Paul. So Paul and Barnabas, great apostles, their first ministry assignment was to carry a bag that said, "First National Bank of Jerusalem", with money in it, from one city to the other. They just carried the offering. That's all they did.
By the way, it shows they trusted them obviously. I'd like to make a comment here. If you can't handle God's money, you definitely can't handle God's ministry. That was their first assignment. Do you know the first place I ever preached? First place I ever preached was the Highway 80 Rescue Mission. It was a place for homeless people in Longview, Texas; the Highway 80 Rescue Mission. I actually have a picture of what it looked like when I preached there. That was the building. Highway 80 Rescue Mission. Here's a picture of what it looks like now. They have a new building and it's grown. And then, here's the inside with a lot of people there worshipping. And what they do is churches all around east Texas, they take a night, because — They've been doing this for over 50 years.
Every night at seven o'clock, they have a gospel message. They have someone present the gospel, because they feel like, "We can give food and a bed to these homeless men and women". They now have a place for ladies as well. But if we don't share the gospel, we haven't really helped 'em. "But we do need to meet their physical need as well". So churches take responsibility and church members come so that the guys, or the gals, that are there don't just feel like it's just them.
When I preached, there were four people there; four other than my family and Debbie, as my girlfriend, came and then a friend of the family, my parents. Other than that, there were four guys there, first time I ever preached. You know where I preached after that? A nursing home. So I didn't start preaching here. I developed my gift. And you ought to be glad. So do something. Draw near to God, discover and develop your gifts, and do something. Start somewhere. Now, I want to hit one more thing on draw near to God. I want you to know that if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". Can I give you my definition of "draw near"? Now, this isn't from a Lexicon or anything like that. It's not from the Greek. My definition is run and hug.
Now, I'd like to invite every one of you, if you need to, to run to God. I want to encourage you to discover your calling. What has God called you to do specifically? And here's the great thing, whatever He's called you to do, He's also gifted you to do. But none of us start at the top. None of us start at the end. We always start at the beginning, so start somewhere. Do something. Get involved in a good local church. Volunteer. Serve. Start doing something, and just watch what happens. You'll begin to grow. You'll begin to minister to other people. And maybe you think you know what your gifting is or your calling is and maybe you don't; but I promise you, by serving, God will cause your gifting to grow and it will come to light and you'll begin to minister in the calling, the specific calling that God has on your life.