When the Lord called to Moses from the Burning Bush, He did not give him mighty armies and weapons to lead the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. He only gave Moses His Word to speak.
Likewise, the Lord calls to Isaiah, He sends the one whom He has forgiven out only with His Word to proclaim. The Lord God similarly calls Ezekiel and gives Him a scroll to eat and then commands the one who has feasted on His Word to go and speak His Word to the house of Israel. From Abram to Samuel, Jeremiah to Matthew, Peter to Paul, the Scriptures are filled with examples of people whom the Lord calls and who He sends forth with only His Word.
Jesus traveled to Capernaum when He was approached by the elders of the Jews who were pleading for a Roman centurion whose servant was ill. As Jesus was nearing the house, friends came saying that centurion had said that
He need not come because the man was not worthy to have Him enter his house. “Just say the word,” was the message they brought to Jesus. When they returned, they found the servant had been healed.
Jesus, the Master Teacher, sent out His disciples on a mission of mercy. What is fascinating about the missionary journey is that He specifically tells them all the things that they should not bring: no bread, no bag, no money in their belts. But these humble servants are sent forth by the Lord to speak His Word.
While much has changed through the centuries, God’s mercy to those whom He calls has not changed. Through every time and age, when God calls someone, it is a gracious that it is more about the character of the One who calls, then the one who is called. Whether it is the child brought to the baptismal font days after birth or the eighty-two year old who hears the Gospel for the first time at a nursing home service, the Holy Spirit mercifully brings us to faith. God continues to create faith in the hearts of people as children in early childhood centers learn about Jesus and as the recent divorcee comes to a Christian support group and learns about real hope.
Thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit still calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth through the Means of Grace.
But one of the wondrous things about those whom the Lord calls is what He gives to them. God most certainly gives us all that we need to support this body and life. But ultimately, the unique gift that God gives to His disciples of every age is His Word. From the time we are called to faith, God sends us forth with His Word. We may face cancer, battle depression, endure financial hardships or even struggle with addiction, but you do so with God’s Word.
You may be a parent charged with teaching your own children, a teacher with a classroom of students or a pastor with a flock for which you are supposed to care. God sends you forth to carry out your vocation with His Word. Like the disciples, we do not need bread, bag or money in our belts. When the Lord gives to us His Word, He has given us everything we need.
For it was by the Word that God brought all things into being. It was by the Word that Jesus healed the sick and stilled the storm. And it is by the Word that God brought you to faith, forgives you of all of your sins and sustains you in the faith. While we may journey through this life with empty hands, we never have empty hearts. For His Word gives us joy and peace knowing that through Christ Jesus we are His forgiven and redeemed children. Dear friends, whatever you face this day, please know that God has given you Jesus, the Word made flesh, to strengthen you. And that’s all that you need.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan