Serving God; June 17, 2020

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

I have lost track of how many messages I’ve heard preached on this verse, and I may have done a few myself. Some people might think that Isaiah’s response to God here is conceited, but this verse is the complete opposite of conceit. It’s not at all that Isaiah is saying, “I’m competent. Who better than me?” Rather, it is Isaiah being so overwhelmed by his vision of God in His glory that his response is total surrender, with no thought of what it might mean for him personally. (As a matter of fact, tradition tells us that Isaiah was martyred by being sawed apart.) There is no telling how many missionary careers were sparked by this verse, and probably some of those too ended in martyrdom. However, countless more people have ignored God’s call on their life, either because of various distractions or because they felt they were incapable of doing what they felt God was asking them to do. Actually, no one is capable of doing what God asks them to do, apart from the grace and power of God! However, God always supplies what He asks of us. So if you think, “I can’t do that,” you’re right, but if you will submit to God, He will do it through you. As I said, many people are simply distracted from God’s call on their life. We fail to obey Jesus’ instructions to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) and in seeking after other things, lose sight of God. How tragic! However, repentance is always an option. We may have missed God’s original timing, but it’s never too late to make full commitment to Him so that He may do whatever He desires through us.

I went through various steps to get to where I am now, and I expect Isaiah had times of renewing his commitment as well, because it had been dulled by circumstances. Jeremiah is famous for his times of questioning God! As a small child I loved Jesus, and my decision to be baptized at age seven was a real one, but my commitment to God went all over the place, only occasionally intersecting with the line that He had drawn out for my life. I was 24 when God showed me the state of my heart and I repented in tears, but even then my walk with Him was not that steady. I have had various other moments of repentance and re-commitment, but God has been faithful. The more and better I realize that I can do absolutely nothing right on my own, the more available I am for God to use me. It’s exactly as He told Paul: “My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) The moment I think, “I’ve got this,” I’m in deep trouble. I don’t ever have it, on my own. However, He’s more than able to take care of it, even using me. As an illustration, just a few minutes ago I realized that somehow I got distracted before I was finished creating the June Scripture list, and from today, the Japanese side of the paper has the wrong verse numbers. I create the list in English, then go through and list the appropriate books of the Bible in Japanese, and then copy the verse numbers from the English to the Japanese. Somehow I did it right through the 16th, and then from today the numbers are from whatever the reading was last month. I can’t even do paperwork right on my own! However, I can telephone the people I know do use the list for their devotions and tell them to use the numbers from the English side of the paper. Serving God requires humility, and every blow to my pride is a good thing.

Father, thank You for causing me to realize my mistake this morning, rather than being called short on it by a very confused church member! (I can easily picture who would do it!) Guide me in getting through to everyone this morning, and help me not make this mistake again. May I always be fully available to You, not taking anything for granted or falling into conceit, so that Your will alone may be done through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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