Monday February 4 — Esther 4:12-17
The Bible is full of call stories. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we find accounts of God calling women and men of all ages and life situations to serve in very special ways. Queen Esther is one example. She was called to use her royal status to save the Jewish people. You may or may not have been called to serve in such a dramatic situation, but you, too, have been called to serve God in a unique and special way. How have you experienced God’s call in your life? What has God called you to do? How have you answered God’s call?
- Prayer: Gracious God, open my eyes and ears to see and hear your call in my life. Show me how you want me to serve you today. Amen.
Tuesday February 5 — Jonah 1:1-10
Like Esther, Jonah was called by God to serve in a unique and special way. He was sent to Nineveh, a great Assyrian city. (At one time, Nineveh was the largest city in the world.) However, Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Instead, he set out for Tarshish, trying to escape God’s presence (and God’s call). Jonah was neither the first nor the last person who tried to avoid God’s call and escape from God’s presence. Have you ever resisted God’s call? Have you ever tried to avoid God’s presence in your life? If so, what happened? Are you resisting or avoiding God’s call in your life today?
Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me when I resist your call and try to avoid your presence. Give me courage to answer your call. Amen.
Wednesday February 6 — Luke 5:1-11
Many people who experience God’s call feel like Peter in today’s reading. We want to tell Jesus (or God) to “go away from me” (Luke 5:8). We don’t believe we are worthy of God’s attention. We don’t believe we are worthy of God’s presence. And we don’t believe we are worthy of God’s call. But God still calls people like Peter, and people like us. God does not call us because we are good enough. God calls us because God is good enough. Have you ever pushed God away? What were your reasons? What would it take for you to leave your fears and doubts behind to follow Jesus and serve God? What is holding you back today?
Prayer: God of Love, remind me today that you call me not because I am worthy or good, but because you are worthy and good. Amen.
Thursday February 7 — Acts 9:1-19
The ninth chapter of the Book of Acts describes two different kinds of call stories. Saul — an opponent of the Christian movement — was called to be a missionary to the Gentiles. Ananias was called to help Saul discern and answer his call from God. Sometimes God uses dramatic means to call us. Other times, God uses a quiet voice, but in every situation the appropriate response to God’s call is to say, “yes.” Has God ever used another person to help you answer God’s call? Has God ever called you to help someone else hear and answer their call? Have you ever hesitated to do what God has called you to do?
Prayer: Eternal God, shine your light in my life. Help me to see clearly where you want me to go and how you want me to serve. Amen.
Friday February 8 — Luke 8:26-39
Sometimes God calls people to leave their homes and share the Good News in faraway places. But other times, God calls people, like the Gerasene, who was a demoniac, to go home and share the Good News with their friends and family. We often resist God’s call because we are afraid that God is going to send us someplace we don’t want to go, but if we will listen, we may discover that God wants us to serve where we are. Does anyone close to you need to hear the Good News? Is it possible that God is calling you to share the Good News with them?
Prayer: Loving God, send me to people who need to hear the Good News. I am ready and willing to go where you send me. Amen.
Saturday February 9 — Luke 9:57-62
Not everybody is ready to follow Jesus and go where God sends them. Like Jonah, some people resist or run away. Others, like the would-be followers of Jesus in today’s reading, want to follow Jesus and serve God on their own terms. Their willingness to be a disciple of Jesus is conditional. They will follow Jesus and go where God sends them only when they are ready. Their response to God’s call is: “not now, maybe later.” What conditions, if any, do you place on your willingness to answer God’s call and follow Jesus? If you have not decided to follow Jesus and go where God sends you, what are you waiting for?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I hear Jesus calling me to follow him. With your help, I am ready — unconditionally — to say, “yes.” Amen.