The Biblical word for ‘calling’ (the Greek word ‘Kaleo’) literally means an invitation. Jesus speaks to us primarily through the Word (As He is the Word (John 1:1)), delivering an invitation to join Him in the harvest. He will invite us into a specific harvest activity that requires a specific gifting that we are being equipped with.
He invites us into His plans by giving us words, concepts, directions and messages. All this requires is faith. As Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." We receive faith by ‘hearing’ His Word with our spiritual ears. We are to hear His personal words to us. In this verse the Greek word used for ‘word’ is ‘rhema’. It’s interesting that this word is used rather than the usual ‘logos’. ‘Rhema’ is the revealed spoken, personal word of God to us that is living and life giving, whereas ‘logos’ is the general written Word of God.
So, true faith, to do His good works that are prepared for us, only comes by hearing the ‘rhema’, revealed personal word of God to us, which often comes as we read the ‘logos’ , the written word of God. Unless we are taught how to hear this, we will be like Samuel who at first, as a boy, was unable to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of man (read 1 Samuel 3:1-10).
Eli was the priest of God but had failed in his duty to teach Samuel how to hear God’s voice, as he himself was unable to do so. In fact, it says in verse 1 ‘the word of God was rare in those days.’ Why was this so? Because ‘there was no widespread revelation.’
They had lost God’s big vision for them and even the lamp in the tabernacle was going out as a reflection of the spiritual state of God’s people. Eli’s physical eyes were dim (verse 2), also reflecting the condition of His spiritual eyes. God called Samuel four times before he realized it was God calling!
As a church, we need to learn afresh how to hear the ‘rhema’ call of God after our spiritual vision has been restored, like Samuel did and he received a specific call that his whole life was founded on – to be a prophetic voice in Israel and raise up God’s leaders. Like Samuel let us say “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:9)
There is a story of a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly he heard a voice that trembled like the thunder. It was God’s voice and He told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. God explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. At first the man thought it was not really God and did not respond until the fourth time when He finally rose to do the Lord’s bidding day by day.
For many years he toiled from sunrise to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man's weary mind: "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it." Thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough."
And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to God. "God," he said, "I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
God responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed.”
“But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back is sinewy and brown, your hands are calloused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have.”
“Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."
When He moved the rock, the man saw a chest full of shining treasure and God said; ‘Now go and use this treasure to bless those whom I lead you to.’ The man realized that he would not have been able to carry the heavy treasure before he responded to God’s call, but now his muscles had been developed he was well able to carry this chest.
At times when we read the Scriptures and hear the Lord speak to us, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him.
By all means exercise the faith that Moves Mountains, but it is still God who actually moves the mountains and reveals our true calling, providing the resources to fulfill it.
Consider Isaiah 11:2-4 which says, “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.”
This is talking about Jesus, but because we are to be 'in Christ' we too are to display the same characteristics. We are not to ‘judge by the sight of’ our eyes or ‘decide by the hearing of’ our ears. This means that we do not depend on physical sight or hearing but on our spiritual senses. It is the anointing of the Spirit that enables us to see and hear spiritually and therefore rule and reign in our calling on this earth, for it is “not my might, nor by power but buy my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
During this time, as Paul says in Galatians 6:9, “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”. As we consistently read His Word, we will be sensitized to hear His voice and, often in the reading, God will speak specifically to us as to what we should do. Do it with all that’s in you. Don’t give up.
In 1986 on my 21st birthday in the Sahara desert God spoke to me through Genesis 12:1-3 that, just as Abraham was to leave his family and homeland and go to a place He would show him, I was to do the same. That brought me to Singapore in 1988 and I am still here to this day doing what God has called me to do. But, like the man in this story, there was a season I grew weary of doing the same things day in day out with no seeming change, even though I knew it was within God’s will. Many times, I felt like giving up.
However, in 2016 as I took it into deep prayer at the prayer altar, the Lord removed that rock and showed me the treasure to distribute to the nations. Because of all the previous year’s pushing the rock I was ready and prepared for this mandate and since then, particularly after writing the book “Building Prayer Altars”, my ministry has gone to the next level.
This can be true for you too! One word from God can change your life forever! You will not have the same calling as me but one that is unique to you. Soak in His Word and hear His call by faith. Then sow your life in obedience, not giving up, for he will come to remove the rock and reveal His treasure for you to give out to the multitudes. Don’t give up! Give it all up to Him!
(Taken from Chapter 6 of Picture Perfect (Part one of Big Picture series) by Tim Gibson).