The Power of Response

“The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

“At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

“Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down.

“The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’  Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

“And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down, and if he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”‘ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

“And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant hears.’ Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.'” 1 Samuel 3:1-11

The contrast between old Eli’s clouded vision and sluggish spirit and the alert senses and eager readiness of young Samuel is stark. Eli had grown spiritually apathetic, while Samuel, entrusted to the Lord early on, grew in familiarity and wisdom through his early years. Idle and dull no frequent vision, meet intuitive and daring Here I am!

To recognize and respond to Jesus, it is vital to be still. Busyness, intense productivity, packing every Sabbath with tasks and activities otherwise neglected all obviate precious time in His word and prayer to glean His broader vision for life. When are we actually still and uninterrupted? (1 Samuel 1:27-28; 2:12;21b-26; Psalm 46:10)

It’s also vital we listen and act, which may require unplugging from constant noise and undoing pre-edited information and false messages. Have we built margin for attending church consistently, reviewing sermon notes, and engaging with other Christians about needed advice, to process lessons learned and applied? Praying for discernment in everything we hear and choose to heed attunes us to God’s voice.

How will we train our senses and will to arise to God’s call? Are we more prone to a sedentary snore of ease than a ready jump to present, listen, and go? How thoroughly do we follow through on Spirit-planted intentions? Do we keep elongating lists, or eliminate items with intentional action? Every response should involve heart, soul, feet, and hands. God gives passion and commitment when we ask.

Father, tune my ears to hear and my mind to comprehend every call and prompting of Your Spirit. Cause my will to respond with vigor and delight, to the furthering of Your purposes and the praise of Your glory.

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