Being Called by Grace

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Long ago, in the Han dynasty of China, there was a general named Han Xin who commanded the troops of the dynasty. He was very self-confident and once said, “The more troops, the better.” However, he had been a minor officer with a lowly position before he was called by the emperor.

After being called by the first emperor of the Han dynasty, he became the chief general with honors. If he had not been called, he would not have been long remembered in history as a hero but remained a petty official all his life.

Likewise, many Biblical characters, after being called by God, became kings or prophets or apostles or warriors for faith; they received God’s promise that He would lead them to heaven, and their names were written down in the Bible.

Like them we have been called by God. If God had not called us, we would have lived a worthless life, just satisfying instinctive needs for food, clothing and shelter; and being chained to perishable earthly things, we would live like worms and suffer eventually in hell.

Those whom God has called

Life is but an empty dream. Though we are now young, we grow gray soon and have blotches on our faces. We do not even know what will happen tomorrow. Our life on this earth is so transient and temporary.

“… What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Jas 4:14

“… All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.” Isa 40:6-7

As stated above, men are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes and like a flower which blooms and then withers away. Though a man has a good job, academic background and high social status, he is merely a poor and miserable being. What he has is just like a mist that vanishes away as the sun rises; it is vain and worthless, for when he dies he shall take nothing with him.

How about those who are called by God? They are blessed whatever situation they are in.

We can see how important God’s calling is, through the Apostle Peter who communicated with Jesus more than other disciples and also made more mistakes than others. If he had not been called by God, what kind of life would he have lived? He would have spent his whole life chasing fish as an ordinary fisherman and suffered pain in hell after death.

Not only Peter but also other disciples such as James and John would have suffered the same thing if they had not been called. We are promised a brilliant future because we have been called by God. Otherwise we would live in vain, squandering our life in pursuing temporary peace and position, tossed by time and tide.

What about Paul? If he had not been called, he would have spent the rest of his life-thirty or forty years-as an expert in the law and remained a sinner called Saul; he would have gone to hell and received eternal punishment for persecuting and killing God’s people; he would have been remembered as a sinner, not as a warrior for truth in the hearts of innumerable Christians.

How about Moses? If he had not been called, he would have continued tending sheep in the house of the priest of Midian, where he fled from Pharaoh, and spent his entire life caring for his wife and children. Not only Moses but also all other forefathers in faith would have lived such a meaningless life and perished if they had not been called by God.

Think about the people whom God has not called. There is nothing to envy in their life. As they satisfy their basic physical needs, so do we. However, we have peace of mind and hope for heaven. We, called by God, are the most blessed ones in the world.

Whenever we see Peter in the Bible, we find that he is a truly ‘blessed one.’ If Jesus had not called Peter but another person among many fishermen at that time, he would have led a simple life as an ordinary fisherman. Being called by God, however, he became a great apostle who played a crucial role in the Early Church.

We are even more blessed than him. God has called us and He is creating us to put us in a position to be more blessed than Peter-to be counted worthy to become ‘the firstfruits.’ Peter, James and John, who followed God’s calling with thanksgiving, lived a life without regret.

“Will you follow Me, Peter?”

“Will you also follow Me, John and James?”

“How can we reject Your calling, O God?”

We are to follow their example; when Christ called them, they left their nets and followed Him with thanksgiving and obedience. They suffered, they were persecuted, while they were proclaiming Christ and the kingdom of heaven; even being threatened with death, they were never afraid. Day after day, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior in the age of the Son. They rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Christ. Where are they now? They are waiting for us at heaven’s gate.

Blessings for those who follow God’s calling with thanksgiving

Let’s see how great and gracious God’s calling is, through the life of Moses.

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?” … Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “… Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Ex 4:1-12

Moses, who was a shepherd at that time, was slow of speech and tongue, not eloquent. After being called by God, however, he was filled with God’s Spirit, so that he could lead about six hundred thousand Israelite men out of Egypt. During the forty years in the desert, he always obeyed God’s will even under all sorts of hardships, so he could become the great leader of the Israelites.

Moses experienced a great change in his life after he was called by God; he was used by God to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Thus, those called by God were given opportunities to make great and significant achievements in God’s work of redemption.

Moses, Peter and Paul went through great changes in their life as they were called by God; the kingdom of heaven was promised to them. When they were called, they thought that they were given golden opportunities to do what was worthy and valuable. Giving thanks to God for providing them with such opportunities, they accepted God’s calling; they considered it as the most valuable thing in the world. To them God promised rewards. Like them, we must also give thanks to God for having called us, understanding how great His grace is.

Think of the Biblical hero Gideon who was called by God to deliver Israel from the Midianites.

The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Jdg 6:14-15

Gideon is described as a great warrior in the Bible, because he was called by God. If he had not been called, he would have lived an ordinary life. He was feeble; but after he was called, he was changed.

Thus, God’s calling brings about marvelous changes in our lives. Moses, who was slow of speech and tongue, became a great leader who turned the hearts of many people to God. Likewise, Gideon, who was very feeble, became a great warrior.

Let’s be clothed in God’s strength to do His work

We, the 144,000, have been called and chosen by God to do the most valuable thing in the world. If we were not called, we would live a worthless life and eventually meet our death.

Men are bound to live a miserable life unless they are called by God. To give them hope, Christ came to this earth, didn’t He? If a man, called by God, continually complains about everything and falls into temptation, God will exclude him from the grace of His calling.

With a new resolution, now let’s find our lost brothers and sisters, giving thanks with a grateful heart to God for having called us. Let’s play a major and preeminent role in the work of the gospel. Though we are weak and feeble, we are given all power from God who has called us.

We need to understand that it is a great blessing to be called by God. We’ve all been entrusted by God with some really valuable things. Whatever duty has been entrusted to each and every one of us as a part of Christ’s body, we should carry it out with thanksgiving.

It is God Himself who has entrusted us with the gospel, isn’t it? God has called us and given us the great mission. How dare we grumble or complain? Surely, the glory of the 144,000 must be greater than Peter, Gideon and Moses. God has called each one of us to become one of the 144,000.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mt 28:18-20

We have been called by God into the above mission. We must not neglect His grace. Like Gideon’s warriors, we are called to do the work of God. Indeed we are greatly blessed, aren’t we?

We must not be like Esau who was foolish enough to sell his birthright for a bowl of red bean soup, not understanding the value of the blessing. Like Jacob we should realize the value of the blessing and strive after it.

Peter, who was merely a fisherman, became one of the prominent apostles. And David, who was just a shepherd boy, became king of Israel. We, who are in Zion, should always consider how great God’s calling is.

God has called us and given us all power we need in preaching the gospel. Let us go forward, holding the torch of truth and blowing the trumpet of the gospel, so that we can find all of our lost brothers and sisters and lead them to God. May God greatly bless you all!

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