I am meditating from my prayer notebook this morning on what I call ‚Äúchoose me‚ÄĚ verses. These are passages and promises from the Word of God which express the desire of my heart to be used by God in His service, to His glory. God the Holy Spirit warns us in Psalm 19:13 to ‚Äúalso keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins,‚ÄĚ and I cannot think of a more presumptuous sin than to simply assume that God will use us in His ministry.
One of the great joys of my heart has been the privilege to witness, to teach, to preach and to serve the Lord on the mission field. It is a continual request of mine that God would continue to choose me in His service in the harvest fields of the world. I do not take this privilege lightly, and every day I pray to God and ask for the Word of God to guide me in this area. Below are four passages which express the desire of my heart in this area. This section of my prayer notebook is entitled ‚ÄúChoose Me, Choose Me, Dear Lord.‚ÄĚ
Exodus 19:19-20 ‚ÄúWhen the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.‚ÄĚ
Numbers 16:5 ‚Äúand he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, "Tomorrow morning the LORD will show who is His, and who is holy, and will bring him near to Himself; even the one whom He will choose, He will bring near to Himself.‚ÄĚ
Psalm 105:26-27 ‚ÄúHe sent Moses His servant, And Aaron, whom He had chosen. They performed His wondrous acts among them, And miracles in the land of Ham. ‚Äú
Psalm 78:70 ‚ÄúHe also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds.‚ÄĚ
John 15:16-17 ‚ÄúYou did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.‚ÄĚ
1 Corinthians 1:27-30 ‚ÄúBut God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things ‚ÄĒ and the things that are not ‚ÄĒ to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.‚ÄĚ
Isaiah 6:8 ‚ÄúThen I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‚ÄėWhom shall I send, and who will go for Us?‚Äô Then I said, ‚ÄėHere am I. Send me !‚Äô‚ÄĚ
As I lift my life up to the Lord, asking Him to ‚Äúchoose me‚ÄĚ as a vessel for His service, my mind goes back to the many ‚Äúgreatest fear‚ÄĚ testimonies I have heard. These testimonies go something like this, ‚ÄúMy greatest fear in (fill in blank--becoming a Christian or entering the ministry or making Christ Lord, etc.) was that God might ask me to be a missionary.‚ÄĚ Even as a young Christian, I could not relate to these testimonies. In fact, I would have to say that my greatest fear has always been just the opposite. That God might not choose me. In the pantheon of God‚Äôs servants, you can picture me as the obnoxious kid on the back row, bouncing up and down in his seat, waving his arm in the air, holding his tired arm up with his other hand, ‚ÄúOoh, ooh, I know the answer to that one, ‚Äėhere am I send me!‚Äô Ooh, ooh, choose me, choose me!‚ÄĚ
I can relate very well to the blind beggar in Luke 18:35‚Äď39:
‚ÄúAs Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he called out, saying, ‚ÄėJesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!‚Äô Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, ‚ÄėSon of David have, mercy on me!‚Äô"
He was certainly not going to let Jesus walk by unnoticed. I, too, find myself in this position in my daily prayers. I want to make sure that I am noticed as one who seeks mercy in my ministry.
Everything I know about God by study and experience tells me that He is a good, loving, kind heavenly Father. Everything good and worthwhile I have ever experienced in my life is directly associated with Him. I have never been afraid that God might ask me to do something that was not good for me. I have never feared that He would not gift, call and equip me, that He would not fund, that He would not bless as part of His call. I have total confidence in the sovereign judgment and care of my loving heavenly Father. The fear I experience is in myself. That I will be found wanting for service or distracted, not hearing the call to battle. It is for this I strive, to be ever alert and ready for God‚Äôs service should He call. That is why each morning I call and I listen, I listen and I call - ‚ÄúChoose me, O Lord, choose me, here am I, send me!‚ÄĚ
Like the Minute Men of America‚Äôs Revolutionary War, I want to be found alert and ready for my Savior‚Äôs call. As a young boy growing up in Lexington, Massachusetts, I can remember seeing the pictures in the public library. I can remember gazing in wonder at the monument in the village green where ‚ÄúThe Shot Heard ‚ÄėRound the World‚ÄĚ was first fired. I can remember visiting the church tower which overlooks Lexington Green. I can remember seeing and visiting the many historical depictions in the adjacent buildings. One of my favorites was a picture of a farmer plowing with a mule. Nearby was a tree, and on it leaned his flintlock, powder horn and travel bag. He was a Minute Man, ready at a ‚Äúminute‚Äôs notice‚ÄĚ to leave his labors in service of a greater cause. I sincerely believe that this is a good depiction of the teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Mark 13:32-37:
"But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Therefore, be on the alert ‚ÄĒ for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning - in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. What I say to you I say to all, ' Be on the alert!'"
There is a great Baptist hymn included with these passages in my prayer notebook. It is penned by Fanny Crosby and entitled ‚ÄúPass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.‚ÄĚ It was a favorite of my music minister, Wyman ‚ÄúMitch‚ÄĚ Mitchell, who led me to Christ at Nassau Bay Baptist Church. Because of this, I was greatly influenced in my formative spiritual years through the singing of this hymn on Sunday mornings when the invitation to make Christ Lord and Savior or to rededicate one‚Äôs life to Christ was given. To this day, many a morning I worship God with this hymn, crying from my soul, ‚ÄúSavior, Savior, hear my humble cry; while on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.‚ÄĚ
I was a young university student at my first Navigator Conference when I heard a message preached by Col. Robert Lewis USMC ‚Äď ‚ÄúHere am I Lord, Send me‚ÄĚ from Isaiah 6:8 (‚ÄúThen I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, ‚ÄėHere am I. Send me !‚Äô") That passage revealed my heart ‚Äď ‚ÄúYes, Lord, here am I. Send me!‚ÄĚ But then came the question: Would God use a vessel such as mine in His great cause?
I was greatly comforted from a message by Lorne Sanny, then President of the Navigators, now promoted to heaven. The title of his message was ‚ÄúAny Old Vessel Will Do (As Long As It Is a Clean One)‚ÄĚ and was taken from II Timothy 2:20 & 21. It was at a national staff conference and he was speaking on the theme of clean vessels and being chosen by God.
‚ÄúNow in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.‚ÄĚ (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
His point was that if you are thirsty and found yourself in the kitchen at a conference center or reception hall, which would you rather use to quench your thirst: a golden, jewel-encrusted goblet which was soiled, stained and dirty or a common Mason jar, which was clean and ready for use? This passage stresses that the vessel God is looking for is a clean vessel, ready and available.
Mr. Sanny once said to me, ‚ÄúJohn, the greatest ability God wants from any man in His service is ‚Äėavailability.‚Äô The Lord will take care of the rest.‚ÄĚ I think upon reflection that I would also add ‚Äúalert‚ÄĚ ‚Äď that God is looking for men who are clean vessels and alert to His call. In Mark 13:33 Jesus exhorts us to ‚Äúkeep alert.‚ÄĚ In Ephesians 6:18 God the Holy Spirit exhorts us, in terms of prayer, to ‚Äúkeep alert.‚ÄĚ In I Thessalonians 5:6, in contrast to those who are asleep, we are to ‚Äúbe alert.‚ÄĚ The context of this alertness is given in I Peter 5:8 ‚Äď we are engaged in a spiritual battle with a formidable enemy. To be available yet not alert to the call to battle is a great loss to one‚Äôs self and to one‚Äôs cause.
Available and Alert ‚Äď is it too much to be asked from a God who has given us so much? As I go about my daily duties, may God find me, this morning and every morning, a clean vessel, both ‚Äúalert‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúavailable‚ÄĚ for whatever service and whatever call He may extend. If I call to God, ‚ÄúHere am I. Send me!‚ÄĚ then it behooves me to be alert and available when He responds.
By His mercy, II Corinthians 4:1 Rev. John S. Mahon Director Grace Community International ‚Äď London, England