Steven Furtick - I'm Confused About My Calling
There is a passage of scripture that has always fascinated me and I knew it was the one to start this series with because most of my sermon ideas come from a text, usually a text in the Bible, but this whole series came to me through a text on my phone. And somebody texted me, but I didn't have their number in my contacts, but they had texted me before and their name was in the text. So, you know, Steve Jobs is so smart even from beyond the grave, he made a suggestion on my iPhone and he said, "maybe" and then it said it could be this person.
And when I saw it on my phone, I realized that that would make an amazing way to spend several weeks in the word of God talking about those times where we don't know if it's God or not. And so we're trying to lead our family, some of us, or we're trying to get our education or we're trying to decide about jobs or dates or trying to decide about moving to a new house or new apartment or just trying to figure out what it is that we were put here on earth for. But the series is called, "Maybe God". "Maybe God". We worship a God who can be best explained as mystery, and yet we live in a culture that worships certainty.
And so I wanna talk about that for several weeks with you. And I'm so glad you're here. Touch somebody and say, "He's so happy you're here. That preacher is happy you're here". That's true. I'm so glad you're here. And what I need you to do right now is give your attention just to this text in 1 Samuel 3 where we will encounter a young man who's encountering God. And I pray that we will encounter God in the process today. 1 Samuel 3:1: "The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days, the word of the Lord was rare. There were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out".
Touch somebody, say, "There's still time. There's still time". I know you might've got off track in your life, but there's still time. I know there might be some things out of order in your house, but there's still time. I know you might've wasted some years chasing your own ways, but God brought you here because there's still time. God left you here because there's still time. If you're still breathing, there's still time. I got a friend named Perry Noble. His favorite quote is, "If you're not dead, God's not done". And I just believe that. I believe it. "So the light had not yet gone out and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord where the ark of God, which symbolized the presence of God, was. And then the Lord called Samuel, and Samuel answered, 'Here I am.' And he ran to Eli and said, 'Here I am. You called me.' But Eli said, 'I didn't call.'"
Go back to sleep, man. Wake me up in the middle of the night. "'I didn't call you. Go back and lie down.' So he went and lay down. Again, the Lord called, 'Samuel!' And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am.'" This is really strange, right? Like because you expect when God calls, it'll sound so deep, so baritone. "Samuel". Apparently, it sounded so much like what he was used to being around that he ran to the place where he normally went and he was like, "'Here I am. You called me.' 'My son,' Eli said, 'I did not call. Go back and lie down.'" What you need, an ambient, a weighted blanket, some milk, a cookie?'
"Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time, the Lord called, 'Samuel.' And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, you called me.'" I know you're messing with me. "Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, 'Go and lie down and if He calls you, say speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'"
The title of this message is something that I have heard people say to me of all ages, of all ethnicities, of all economic status positions. I don't want you to look at the screen for the title of my message. It goes like this, "I'm Confused About My Calling". "I'm Confused About My Calling". I love God and I love my family and I wanna make a difference, but look at somebody next to you and say, "You look confused". Tell 'em, "I am. I'm confused about my calling". Lord, have Your way. Speak Your Word. We're listening. In Jesus' name. Amen.
You are forgiven if when I say calling, you roll your eyes a little bit. It is one of these terms that is so popular in culture that it almost means nothing anymore, and it can be frustrating the older you get when people talk about lofty ideals like finding your calling. You need to find your calling. You know, well, for most of us, that's way outside of the realm of our everyday life. We're trying to pay bills. It's like, you know, you need to find your calling. And you're like, "Well, I'm doing good to find my keys in the morning and you wanna talk about finding your calling".
And as much as I understand that I also understand that there's a reason that the majority of questions that I have been asked as a pastor in these 13 years, going on 14 years, the reason for it is that there is something inside of you that wants to find the thing that you were made to do. And you will never be satisfied with anything else. And no matter how much sex you have, money you make, friends you meet, no matter how big the house is that you built, no matter how many cars you park in the driveway, there will always be something unsatisfied in you until you find that thing that we call a calling.
And yet, so much damage has been done in popular culture by the concept of calling that it actually makes us discontent with our lives because rather than understand the real nature of a calling, we have a concept of a calling and often we spend our lives wishing that we were doing something that God did not tell us to do. The Bible says in Verse 1 that in those days, while Samuel, the 12-year-old, who was apprenticing in the tabernacle, because his mother, Hannah, prayed that she could have a son and she had trouble conceiving and when she finally had the son, she dedicated him to the Lord and she dropped him off at age four and only saw him once a year and she put him under Eli who wasn't doing a very good job.
He was letting his sons run around in the tabernacle and have sex with women at the entrance to the tabernacle and he knew about it, but he wouldn't do anything about it. And he was letting his sons beat people up who had brought their sacrifice to the temple. And they brought their sacrifice to God, but the priests took it for themselves, Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons, would send their messenger out to the tent and say, "Hey, Hophni said you gotta give him the fat portion". And the people who came would be like, "Well, that's for the Lord. They can get the portion after it burns off. That's the priest's portion". But they had gotten confused about what it meant to honor God and they'd started honoring themselves and their opinions and their desires. And they started treating God as common.
And so the Bible says something interesting in Verse 1. It says, "In those days, with all of that going on, the word of the Lord was rare". Because they treated the Lord as common, the word of the Lord was rare. Because we live in a day where it is so easy to get information, but so difficult to get truth, I figured this verse would apply to us. Would you agree with me that we are drowning in information, drowning in opinion, drowning in agenda, drowning in projections, but starving for truth? You know I'm right about it. It's such a crazy time, you don't know who to trust anymore. You don't know if it's real. You don't know if it's fake. You don't know if it's inflated. You don't know if it's a statistic.
And, let me give you a statistic, 83% of statistics are made up. That's a statistic. I made it up. It's a time where truth is hard to find. And it doesn't mean that there wasn't access to the Bible. God knows we have access to the word of God. You can pull out your phone right now and a British person will read you the Bible on the Bible app. That made me think of something real funny. One time Graham asked me, "Do British people find American accents soothing"? Probably not. But here's the thing about it, it's not accessed to the word of God, it's our attitude to the word of God. It's our attitude.
It's why some people can come into church and look narcoleptic in church. It's why some people can come into church and leave during the invitation 'cause God forbid it takes you seven minutes to get to Cracker Barrel. It's why some people can click around to different sermons and be like, "Ah, yeah, I don't know. Furtick's not on today. I'm gonna go over here to this one and that one and that's..." See, when the word of God becomes common to us, we will have access to the word of God, but it will not have impact on our life.
And so the first thing I wanted to mention is the culture. The culture in Eli's time was a culture of neglect, a culture where the value of who God was and what He said was negotiable therefore there was an absence of that special presence of God. The word of the Lord was rare because the Lord of the word had become common. And I just wanna say to you today that many of our cultural concepts of calling are really just self-help, individualistic, ambition-oriented delusions dressed up in Christian clichés. And because you got a trophy when you were seven, does not mean you get to play major league baseball.
And the culture of our day is kinda like instead of worshipping God, we worship our idea of God's will. And rather than being in relationship with God, we want God to be a resource who is more like Siri than He is like a Savior. I don't know if you'll come back next week the way I'm starting this sermon, but we need to get something straight right off the bat. That until I treasure the voice of God, value the voice of God, harken to the voice of God, make time for the voice of God, consecrate myself, I can't get it by skimming, I can't get it by just, you know, running around to this person and that person. It is the revealed will of God that we're after. It is the revealed will of God.
Now, when I was in my 20s, I did all of this teaching and preaching and now, you know, now that I'm wiser, I turn 40 next year... Y'all better start working on my gift now 'cause it's a big one. It's kinda cringy for me to look back on the way I spoke about calling in my 20s that probably left people feeling at the very least confused, at worse frustrated and maybe even full of resentment because the way it happened in my life is different for all of us. Here's Samuel who is receiving a revelation of God.
And in my life, I never heard anything audible that God said to me. You know, the Lord never said, "Furtick, Steve". Will God call you by your last name or first? I don't know. But He never said, you know, preach to me out loud. There were desires. There were opportunities. I noticed some effectiveness. It's the weirdest thing. When I first got up to pray for Pastor Mickey who asked me to pray at a Lion's Club meeting, I noticed that people seemed to be blessed as I prayed and they connected.
And it took Pastor Mickey to explain to me that that was the hand of God on my life. I didn't know that. If he hadn't been there to guide me, I would've maybe thought I was just a charismatic speaker. But he helped me to see that there was something supernatural involved and I was 16 years old and I had someone who had been around long enough to see some things to tell me it was special. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known it.
Now, here's what I did with that knowledge. I preached in my 20s. That just like God called me to preach, God has called each Christian to do something. You agree with that? But here's the part that I think was incomplete while I'd be up there saying to people you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling, you need to find your calling...
'Cause see, it gets annoying after awhile. Right? It's like I'm just trying to, like, I need a job, man. I don't know about a calling. I just need a raise right now. Is that it makes it sound as if it's something that you can just get and just know. And yet, did you notice in the passage that even Samuel, who was the link between the period of the judges and the monarchy of Israel, a thousand years before Jesus, that even Samuel, who none of His words fell to the ground, even Samuel didn't get it right the first time.
I don't know why, but that encourages me. Just reading this little story to know that there's someone that God used to do something great and He called him and He chose him, but even this great prophet didn't get it right the first time. I wanna set you free today from the feeling that you have to find your calling. That's a cultural concept, it's not a biblical one. You don't have to find your calling. In fact, if the text is correct, if Samuel is an illustration, then I don't have to find my calling because if I will serve the purpose of the season that I'm in in my life right now, watch this, get ready to shout: my calling will find me.
Isn't that good news, Christian soldiers? Aren't you glad to know that when Samuel heard a voice, and he didn't even know whose voice it was? And here's the thing about it, I wanna talk about the culture and then I wanna talk about the contact. The contact. Because when he first heard the voice, it sounded like something he had heard before. Have you ever noticed it's hard to know the difference between when you're speaking to you and when God is speaking to you? And watch out for the Christians who're running around so sure that it's God speaking to them. Those are the weird ones. Those are the crazy ones.
I mean, I'm serious, you gotta watch out for 'em. And they're here at Elevation just like they're at every church. And they'll find you in the bathroom and they'll say I have a word from the Lord for you and they don't even know you and it's weird 'cause it's the bathroom. "Can I wash my hands? If God spoke to you, He'll do it in the lobby. But let me finish using the bathroom". I'm serious, y'all, 'cause I'm a preacher and people always think I wanna be spiritual and people will stop me in the bathroom sometimes at a restaurant and give me a word from the Lord.
But if it was really the Lord, He would've told you it's weird to talk to people in the bathroom and wait till a man gets outside because there is such as a thing as germs and God doesn't cancel out germs. I don't want your prophetic word while I'm trying to... But because it gets weird, we still have to realize that the only way that the will of God or the word of God or the voice of God can be recognized, that's what the Bible said that Eli, who was old, who couldn't see physically.
I've been on this thing lately that we really need people in our life who are older than us who have been along the journey and to respect the price that they paid and to not just think that because they don't go on Sound Cloud or because they don't have a lot Instagram followers that they have nothing to teach us. I'm really seeing the value in people who they may not have the physical vision that they used to have, but they can discern spiritual things.
And Eli wasn't even a perfect priest. In fact, God was in the process of moving him out of the way. And even in that transition because the whole passage is about transition, it's Samuel transitioning from a boy to a man. From... Boys II Men, I was just thinking, you know, "It's Hard to Say Good-Bye". But when Eli is transitioning out and when Samuel is transitioning up and he's ultimately stepping into the thing God created him for, God deals with Samuel, but He does it through Eli. And whatever God is going to speak in your life is going to come into context of relationships.
And I chose the word contact to describe it because whoever you put around you the most will start to affect the voice inside of you that speaks to you. And have you ever noticed that God's voice sometimes in your life sounds like your wife? Sometimes for me it sounds like my kids. Sometimes in my life, I've noticed that if I am not selective about my contacts, I will start hearing, I don't mean like out loud voices. I don't want you to send me off after I preach today or anything like that.
I mean the voice in my mind a lot of times, when I was going through a counseling session to try to understand myself better, the one thing that the therapist would keep saying is whose voice is that? You know, these things you say to yourself. You go like, you know, I'm so stupid and you never get anything right and, well, of course, you screwed it up, you screw everything up, you know, all of that. And she keeps saying whose voice is that? Whose voice is that?
And I didn't know if she was just trying to get me to say, you know, it was my dad, you know, my mom, like the point of all therapy. My diapers were too tight, I admit it. But what I realized is that most of us who are not clinically insane don't actually hear voices, we process thoughts. Right? So we say the voice of God. How does the voice of God come into your life? Through thoughts. Through thoughts. And that's why Samuel was confused. Right? 'Cause he heard something. So he went where he knew to go.
And I wanna point out something about this. He did the right thing. He did the right thing. He ran. I notice the Bible said that when he heard his name called, "Samuel," first of all, it didn't sound strange to him, it sounded like what he was used to so he ran because that's what he did because he had the right passion, but he ran to the wrong person. Some of you right now, you have the right passion, but you're running to the wrong person or the wrong place.
Now, this is not only true in the case of Samuel, it was true of Moses. God called him to deliver His people from the Egyptians. Moses had the right passion, but where he messed up, listen to this, UC, when he killed the Egyptian, it was the right passion, but it was misplaced. He tried to do it his way. He didn't get it right the first time. And some of the things that you've gotten wrong in your life, some of the mistakes that you've made, it was God stirring you up, but it was Eli that you ran to. You ran to the thing that God was trying to remove out of your life because that's what you were used to. You ran to the thing that you were familiar with because it's all your mind could understand.
And so God gave you a gift, but you used that gift for you for a little while until you found out unless I offer the gift back to the giver, it's gonna come back empty. But God brought you here today to let you know: "That was My voice calling you. That was Me that gave you that talent. That was Me that made you good at that. That was Me that opened the door for you. That was Me that gave you that responsibility. That was Me that gave you health. That was Me that gave you strength. That was Me that gave you that connection". It was Him the whole time. It was the Lord that called Samuel, but it was Eli that Samuel ran to.
What're you running to? If you're running to something that is not your purpose, you'll feel it in several ways, but one of the things I want to mention is I'm trying to surround myself in this stage of my life with people who bring out the God in me. And that's just me. Now, I don't mean I'm going to be mean to people who don't know the Lord or going to go on living in a monastery or something like that, but, you know, there are some texts that I don't return in the stage in my life because I feel like I'm in a season where I'm trying to do important things in my calling is valuable and, so, my contacts are very important because certain stuff is contagious and I know there are certain people when I get around them I feel something rise in me that lets me know I can overcome and I need them around me, I need them to rub off on me, I need them to speak into my life, I need them to encourage me. I don't need people who are laying back on the last thank God did in this season of my life, I need people to push me forward, yes, I do. Yes, I do.
I've got to be careful reading the comments on my Instagram in this season because whatever I make contact with, I catch, and see, I need the word of the Lord, I need vision, I need hope, I need purpose, I need security. And, so, he runs to Eli, but Eli tells him it's God you need to speak to and the right contacts in your life will always point you back to the only One Who has real power. Thank You, God, for this word, I feel Your Spirit on this one.
This gon' help you, 'cause watch, the concept of calling that most of us have is that you're gonna go on a 40 day fast in the holy land and God's gonna speak to you when you walk where Jesus walked in the sea of Galilee, but the Lord is not gonna speak to you on the sea of Galilee from a voice on the water, he is gonna speak to you and I know you don't want to hear it because it's sexy to think that someday there's gonna be a voice that speaks from heaven, it's not gonna be like that, it's gonna sound like Eli. It's gonna sound like Eli and it is through Eli that God calls Samuel. Eli. This isn't Billy Graham; this is the dude who blew it. And this is how bad he blew it.
Watch what ultimately happens when Samuel, after three times... everybody say, "Three times," how many times do I have to... one time, Holly... she loses her temper with our kids a lot, y'all pray for her, just kidding, she's a very patient mom. But, one time, she was so mad at Elijah he was only about four, she said, "How many times do I have to tell you"? He got this real fear look in his eyes, he goes, "Three times"? Look at verse 8 again. A third time.
How many are glad that God has call waiting? That God will call you again? Ask Jonah. Jonah wasn't even a talented preacher. He didn't have funny stories, he didn't have good charisma, he didn't even like people, but God used him because when God calls you He will call back. You know how there are some people when you call 'em, you have to call them, and so you're secretly hoping you'll get their voicemail because you really don't wanna talk to them anyway?
Some of you think God is like that like He really wants someone else and He's really glad that he doesn't have to deal with you. But God wants you, God wants you, God chose you, God put the genetics in you, the DNA in you, the passion in you, the opportunity is for you. What God has for you, it is for you. That's why you don't have to be jealous, insecure, bitter, resentful. That's why you don't have to get back, that's why you don't have to take revenge because what God has for you is for you. Y'all awake? And that was really the answer because it's not only the culture that confuses us in our calling, it's not only our contacts sometimes, but it's the conflict of calling. The conflict of calling is great on an internal and an external level.
Now, what Samuel did next, what a beautiful little story, right, to show us that God repeats things. That's one way I know He's speaking. You ever notice this? When God is trying to get your attention it's kind of like when you're shopping for a certain car and you start seeing them everywhere. When God wants to get a message across to you, He'll put you in the market for it and you never even looked at anyone else's Beats, but now you look, what's that one? How is that when different than that one and this one and the other one? "Cause, I'm in the market for God".
When you get in the market for God, you start noticing that He's been speaking all along just like there was confirmation. I didn't have time to put this word in the sermon, it starts with the letter 'C' so it could be a bonus point; 'Confirmation'. God will speak something over here, over here, over here, and you'll start noticing it. You'll start noticing little things and then you hear it in the sermon and then you'll hear it in a movie and then you hear it in a song and then you hear it, see it on somebody, the back of their window and then you hear it through your husband and then you hear it and you just see it and hear it and you start seeing it and you start hearing it and then you have to discern, which is to separate, that's what Eli did.
He discerned, the Hebrew word is 'bin', he discerned, he separated, he made a distinction. He had a discernment to know this is the Lord calling the boy. So, He said, "When it happens again...", and this is the word of the Lord for you, "When it happens again", "When it happens again", if it happens again, "Just say, 'Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.'"
And I wanna show you something that the Lord just showed me, His greatest revelation happened in rest. Eli didn't say, "Oh, that may be God, you better run out and catch Him before He leaves". If God spoke to you, you better chase Him down. No, if it was God speaking, He'll come back, all you got to do is be in position for it. That's all you've got to do. You don't have to find it, it will find you, trust me, God is not playing hide and seek in the tabernacle. God is not running around the tent, "Ha, ha, ha! Maybe if I hide behind this table of showbread Samuel will never find me back here".
Samuel. God's not hiding behind the laver, you know? He's not hiding. And even though God is always moving, He's never hiding. That's what the tabernacle was, it was a portable structure and they set it up in the wilderness because they never knew when God was gonna say, "Stop," and when God was gonna say, "Go". Why? Because God does not want you to depend on His will, He wants you to depend on Him. There's a difference. One is, "God, just show me what to do, that way I won't need You". The other one is, "God, I want You, wherever You lead me, wherever You take me, whatever it means, whatever it costs, and whatever it looks like".
But here's the conflict because Samuel goes and he lays down, the Bible says, "He didn't note the Lord yet". He knew how to bake the bread in the tabernacle, that was his job, he knew how to open the doors so people could come worship, he knew how to follow Eli around, "And get me this and get me that," but there's a big difference between the rituals of religion and a relationship of God. And if you're going through the motions like, you know, singing songs not really thinking about the words, just kind of singing them or just kind of like hearing little forgettable things that I say in my sermon that you know you won't even remember what it was about, 15 minutes after I'm done, it's possible that you don't know the Lord yet.
I don't mean you're not a Christian, not necessarily, I don't mean you don't believe in God, not necessarily, but to know Him is to know His voice. And when you know Him like that, you can hear things that're hard to hear, but you can know that even when He says things that are hard for you to hear He says them from a spirit of love, grace, purpose.
One of my friends is a real over-texter, I can't keep up with him, and I love him, but my thumbs hurt and I can't do it and I don't voice text because it's annoying because it corrects the wrong words the wrong way and you can get in trouble that way and say something you didn't mean to say, end up firing somebody you meant to hire, but it changes and it doesn't know because your voice, anyway. One time he texted me and he said, "How come our conversation is all grey"? On iPhone, when they text you, it's grey, when you text back, it's blue.
When he said that, I wondered if sometimes my relationship with God is all grey to where He is speaking and He is prompting and He is provoking, but God can speak, speak, speak three times, He did it, God didn't say anything different the third time, except this: When he said, "Speak Lord, Your servant is listening," and he laid down in his place... I got to hit that real quick, I know we are running out of time, but it says, "Samuel went and laid down in his place," that's verse 9, put it up. "Samuel went and laid down in his place". In his place, in his place.
You will realize God's purpose when you get in your place. Touch somebody next to you and say, "Get in your place". 'Cause if God is dropping off the mail, but you're not home, you won't get it, and you'll think He didn't send it and you will think He didn't speak, but I learned something with my friend, it was not just the conflict of the calling, it was the color, it was all grey, but the breakthrough is in the blue. It's not just when God speaks, it's when you get in your place and say, "God, here I am, the real me, the honest me, the open me, the ready me, the humble me, the broken down me, the me that is ready to do Your will because I've done my will and I saw how that worked out and I'm ready to do Your will".
That's what Isaiah said. He said, "I'm an unclean man with unclean lips, but if You'll take that coal and touch my lips, I'll speak for You because holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty so here I am, I'll go". Moses stood at a bush, he turned aside, took off his shoes and said, "God, I'm slow of speech, I'm not eloquent, and You saw the things I did that put me in this predicament, but if it is You calling, here I am". Somebody shout, "Here I am". Jeremiah said, "I'm too young for this and Your people are stubborn and You know they're not gonna listen, but if it's You calling me, here I am". Somebody shout, "Here I am".
And the reason I'm confused about my calling is because I don't just have one. This is what I didn't know in my twenties because I felt like God called me to preach. You ever felt like God called you to do something, put you somewhere? I mean, maybe it wasn't something big, spectacular, maybe you're not gonna do a halftime show at the Super Bowl with it, but God called you to do something. I just saw your Patriots gear, made me think of the Super Bowl. God bless you, man. Congratulations on that, I hope you're happy now.
How many is it gonna take for you guys to shut up about it? There is a blessing in it, there's a blessing in it even though it's a small thing. And he said, okay, God called me to do this, but then what happens is, look, I was called to preach, right? So, I start preaching, I start going around preaching. I'm preaching everywhere, preaching everywhere they asked me to come preach. I'm preaching at the lock in, I preach one time so late in the night, it was 3 AM, and I had this sermon illustration where I would take a mirror and I would break the mirror and I would preach Genesis 1:26 about the image of God and Holly can tell you we knew where the mirrors were and every Wal-Mart in the state of South Carolina because every time we get to a new little town to preach to 15 kids I would go in and get a mirror and then I would break it with a hammer and I would say, "This is what sin does to you".
You know, but the condemnation on the young people, just put it on hard, breaking mirrors. And one point, went to the emergency room because the glass flew up and hit him in the eye and I had to call his parents and tell them not to sue me, I'm a man of God and I got a ministry and if you sue me, God's gonna curse you, but I didn't say that. But I was running around preaching, right? But then I married Holly and I realized I'm called to be her husband, too. Come on, it's the conflict of calling, it's complicated. You can make it sound simple, find your calling, which one? Because then I was called to be a preacher and a husband. And sometimes they needed different techniques.
What if I walked home and said, "Holly, give Him a shout of praise"!? It's different callings. "Touch three people"! She's, "It's just us". And then by the time I'm getting these callings, you know, how many of you got at least two callings in your life? At least two things that you're responsible for and they're in conflict, sometimes? Here she comes, pregnant, four years into marriage, here she turns up, pregnant and now I'm called to be a parent.
Now I'm called to, you ever feel like you're not just putting on different hats, but you actually have, like, different heads? I read that in that Sittser book, "The Will of God as a Way of Life". He said, "I felt like I didn't just have different hats, I had different heads and this is the conflict of calling". But the answer is always availability. Presence, access. When he said, "Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening," it created access not only for God's work to come to him, but for God's work to come through him.
And what God said was difficult. He said, "I'm transitioning, not only am I transitioning you from an apprentice to a priest from a priest to a prophet, but I'm transitioning Eli and his sons out of the earth so that my purpose can be fulfilled". I'm transitioning, I'm transitioning, and you're gonna have to go through a difficult transition right now. But by the time we get to 1 Samuel 4:1, the Bible says that, "...Samuel's word came to all Israel".
I was curious why it didn't say God's word through Samuel? But by this point in 1 Samuel 4 because Samuel said, "Here I am, speak, Lord," we have now gone from, the word of the Lord was rare to the word of Samuel came to all Israel because he had gotten to a point where he heard God's voice on the level that when He spoke, what He spoke came directly from the throne of God. God wants to get us to the place where we are not running around all the time talking about what we're gonna do one day.
Some of you are using the concept of a calling as a crutch to not fully embrace the season of life that you're in and that is not the will of God for you. And you may be called to be a mom one day, but if you're not a mom right now, can you say, "Here I am," to this season? And you may be called to own your own business one day, but can I just say that in the meantime the only thing that God has ever wanted from you was all of you. The only thing that God has ever asked of you is here I am, it's what Jeremiah said, it's what Moses said, it's what Isaiah said, it's what Samuel said. And when he made himself available the word of God became abundant.
I want you to stand to your feet because God has been speaking your whole life. He's been speaking through hard things, He's been speaking through painful things, He's been speaking through pleasure, passion, He's been speaking through rejection, He's been speaking through restlessness. It wasn't that God wasn't speaking, it's that the people had lost their ability to listen. And, so, God said to Samuel, "Before you can speak for Me, I need you to learn to listen".
This is what God wants to fine tune in our lives, over the next few weeks. This is what God wants to do in your heart over the next few weeks because, honestly, some of you are still running to Eli when it's really God. Some of you are running trying to find something out there when God is trying to speak to you in your place. That's what got me this time because I didn't preach that last night, but when I was speaking to you, God was speaking to me and I try to listen and He said, "Tell them, 'Stay in your place'".
Samuel didn't wake up that morning looking for a calling and maybe that's the problem with us, maybe it's that we made this thing about calling and what God has for my life. What if what God has called you to first and foremost is Himself? Wouldn't that set you free? That the will of God is not which job, the will of God is not which school you put your kids in, my God, I was talking to buck the other day, one thing I love about Monks Corner better than Charlotte, there were two schools you could go to, there was just two. It was the public one and the one that everybody that smoked weed at the public one got sent to, the Christian school. But listen to me, we've made the will of God a resource, it's not a resource; it's a relationship. It's a relationship, it's a relationship.
So I want us to go through this next several weeks not looking for clarity, certainty, but confidence to know that if I will make myself available to this calling in this moment He'll speak. He will speak, question is, will you respond? What I've learned to do now is not necessarily say this is God or this isn't God, I got this new thing, it may be God, I dunno know. Only way for me to find out, the only way I can experience the breakthrough is in the blue. "So, speak, Lord, I'm listening".