The Journey: The Blessed Mundane

November 12, 2017
Micah 6:1-8
Lindsay Small

This past Friday night our family went to opening night of Peter Pan at West Ottawa High School…which is wonderful by the way! It was so cool to see so many Fellowship kids in the production…and people from Fellowship there to cheer them on!

It was wonderful watching our talented students in action…but a close second was watching the looks of pride and love on parent’s faces.

I’ve done a small study over my past decade of being a parent into the strange behavior that can often arise at our children’s performances.

This particular brand of peculiar behavior is groomed over many years…starting with preschool Christmas programs…we vie for the best spots…the crane our necks…we video the whole thing from 45 rows back…my favorite is that we wave “HI!”…look! I see her! I see him!…when the funny thing is, we probably drove them to the event…and see them all the time!

These events…the big games, the performances, graduations, recitals…these are the mountaintop experiences in our lives.

Our lives are marked by these sacred events…as I look back over the photo yearbooks I’ve put together for our family…they are mostly the mountaintops… the vacations, the weddings, the births and birthdays…these are things that make up our stored memory, the things that we dream about for the future.

But there’s also this space in the middle… the mundane…the everyday…the regular. And the mundane vastly outnumbers the mountaintops.

Time marches us through both…at the same pace no matter if we are in our darkest valley or highest mountain.

On our first trip to Paris…a trip I had planned and anticipated for years…Kyle and I sat at an outdoor cafe…I surveyed the bustling Parisian life around me, the wonderful food and appropriate beverage in front of me, the man that I love beside me…and I remember so clearly saying, “I just want to push pause on my life right now.”

We’ve all had those push pause moments…

But of course we know that does not happen…that cafe in Paris was 11 years ago…life moves on through the sacred and the mundane.

—-

In many ways, scripture is the same way. There are mountains and valleys in scripture.

The mountains are the “In the beginning…be still and know…for I know the plans…God so loved the world…Love is patient, love is kind…for the healing of the nations.”

They are the passages that are calligraphied on our walls…attached to our email signatures…adopted as life verses.

Then there are the valleys…the more obscure passages…

The ones about the number of rams to be sacrificed, and genealogies of names we only guess at pronouncing…the kids who call Elijah ‘baldy’ and then are mauled by bears…I’ll let you look that one up later…

These are the ones that do not normally make the Sunday morning round-up or Sunday school lesson…

They are not held up at baseball games…or have churches or non-profits named after them.

And to be fair…most of the Bible is made up of these more obscure verses. We don’t spend a whole lot of time in the book of Naham or Zephania…

But the combination of the two…the mountain and valley passages…come together to make God’s Word…and it is a beautiful combination.

If the Bible were simply one John 3:16 after another…it would dilute its message. Besides…it would never fit on a piece of poster board.

Scripture is a combination of both…and I believe the one highlights the other.

The passage from Micah for this morning in itself is a combination of both the sacred and the mundane.

But it is the mundane verses of this passage that lead us up the mountain to verse 8…arguably one of the most familiar verses in the Bible.

——A verse so important to me that I would call it my life verse…a verse so important to us that our firstborn son bears the name Micah.

But it is the lead up verses that make the mountaintop verse that much more meaningful…

Micah is prophesying in a time where there is no shortage of religious types…In fact, he describes widespread ‘religiosity’…backed by lots of pomp and circumstance. Especially from those shady religious leaders…never trust them.

It was religion-as-usual, but certainly not religion-as-God intended. As so in the opening verses, God lodges a legal case against Israel and asks creation to stand in as the jury.

God states his case: that the people of Israel have failed to be faithful while time after time, God has remained faithful. He reviews the history…much of which we’ve considered this fall: he delivered them from slavery, he gave them leaders such as Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, the list goes on and on.

No matter what…through the sacred and the mundane…God has been faithful.

So the people answer back with a question, “with what shall I come before the Lord? They essentially throw up their hands and say “Guilty as charged! How can we make reparations?”

Sadly, they go on to make a few suggestions…sacrifices, offerings…and we’re right back to where we started…

Its like the only thing they knew to do was go through empty, monotonous motions…and hope those were good enough to appease God.

Micah isn’t buying it…they’re not going to be able to sacrifice their way out of this mess this time…

And so he lays out what God truly wants…and says, “God has told you want he wants…

  • Do justice.
  • Love kindness.
  • and walk humbly with your God. That’s it. That’s what God desires.

Except we know, that’s a lot. Its easy to read and difficult to do. Simple to understand and complicated to enact.

In and of itself, verse 8 is a combination of sacred and mundane.

It begins with the mundane…consider the verbs… Do.  Love.  Walk.

These are everyday verbs…every single one of us do these things every day… as did people in the time of Micah. Do…love…walk….

I’ve referenced my favorite preacher Anna Carter Florence before…she reminds us that we share the verbs of scripture…the nouns are often different…but the verbs are the same.

Abraham, Ruth, Elijah, Micah…they did, they loved, they walked. God is not asking the people of Israel or us to fly

He is asking us to do, to love, to walk. Simple shared verbs…

But of course, being action verbs and all…God is also not asking us to SIT.

These verbs are meant to go somewhere…to do something. And that something…that makes all they difference…

We can take these mundane verbs and point them at ourselves…or we can point them at sacred.

Our natural tendency is to point these verbs in our direction…and when I fall prey to this, I find that way too much of what I do is wrapped up in me.

Think about all the time and energy that we spend wrapped up in us…all our self- directed action verbs are in a perpetual cul-de-sac.

Worrying, doubting, grooming, stressing…these are verbs that can so easily drive us further and further into ourselves…

But God shows us another way…he spells out a sacred direction…towards justice, kindness, and humility. Away from ourselves and towards God and neighbor.

These are the words that take the ordinary up the mountain, and put the sacred into the mundane.

We aren’t just to do what we want…we are to do justice.

We aren’t just to love what we want…we are love kindness.

We aren’t just to walk however we want…we are to walk with humility.

Mundane and sacred.

Away from ourselves and towards God…and others.

In the religious tradition that nurtured me, one of the early phrases was “For God’s glory and neighbor’s good.”

This is our call.

Each and every day.

From the mountain to the valley…and everywhere in between.

—-

Our quest for the mountaintop experience is understandable.

And once we’re there…we may wish for the pause button…to stay firmly planted on the mountain.

Coming down the mountain can be tough…the mundane brings with it routine, and drudgery, and anxiety.

It’s exhausting…

But the two do not have to be mutually exclusive…and the question becomes… And so how do we infuse the mundane with the sacred?

I would argue its not about grand strokes that require months of vacation planning…

I’m talking about the simple things:

  • how we talk to our children even when we’re exhausted.
  • how we treat our loved ones even when we’re angry.
  • how we show up to our colleagues even when feel passed over.
  • how we pour out small acts of kindness in a world that needs it.

Its taking the mundane…our everyday life…and infusing it with the sacred. One verb at a time.

Smiling…giving…embracing…serving…these are everyday mundane verbs that echo…do…love…walk…and that’s our call.Centuries after the prophet Micah, someone else would echo him…

Jesus loved playing in the realm of both the sacred and mundane…he would take simple things…a loaf of bread, a fish, a seed…and do extraordinary things with them.

Because for Jesus, it really wasn’t one or the other. The two wove themselves together…

He saw the image of God in every face he encountered. He called out the ridiculous Temple practices that religious leaders had mandated.

In other words, he took what we like to call mundane and made it sacred and took the “sacred” and made it mundane.

He showed us how to point our verbs… -always towards justice, kindness, and humility.

I loved seeing the students from Fellowship act their hearts out, be stagehands with fancy headsets and everything, and play the music that kept the show moving along…

But I love even more that my kids knew the students by name…because they are Sunday school teachers, and babysitters, and members of our community.

The sacred is great…its hard to beat the mountaintop…but sometimes the mundane is even better.

After all, the mundane is our primary zip code…its where we live almost each and every day.

And so the question is HOW? How will we do, love, and walk?

What is God putting on your heart?

My prayer is that God would take us out of our self-driven cul-de-sacs, and into a journey of justice, kindness, and humility…

Renee Krueger
The Journey: An Unlikely Anointing

October 22, 2017
1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 51:10-14
Lindsay Small

My friend Rachel told us that when she was a child, one of the kids at her school picked on her…and called her ugly.

And when her mom came to pick her up from school, she told her the whole thing through teary eyes from the back seat of the car.

Her mom listened quietly and then said, “Rachel, don’t listen to him. Besides, its what is on the inside that matters…”

A moment later, Rachel’s mom saw her doing this into the rearview mirror.

It’s what is on the inside that matters…

This is the kind of passage that really doesn’t apply to many of us… I mean, its only relevant for those…

  • who have ever hated how they looked.
  • or those who continually find fault with themselves.
  • or those who in their own insecurity…judge other people for how they look.

So anyone to whom that framework does not apply…feel free to stop listening.

So now that I have ALL of your attention…

We can certainly affirm here today that indeed this passage is highly relevant.

That we all need the reminder that God looks on the inside…and THAT is what is important.

Verse 7 is a confirmation of the way we want the world to be. The way WE want to be.

To look at the heart, and not externals. To value character over appearance.

To look at the inside…not the outside.

And we want our kids to know this much better than we do… But how does this passage stand up to the rest of the world?

The power of advertising and consumerism and enhance our appear-ism…

That is the Goliath.

 And v.7…well, that’s David.

It is comforting to know that its not just us. That appearance as King has been reigning since Samuel picked the first King.

A few chapters before this, Samuel the priest has woken from his Biblical Nap (as we talked about last week…)…and has chosen a much-desired King…a man named Saul.

Handsome, tall…and searching for cows (you can read more about it at home)

And yet this first choice has not gone so well…Saul is not fit…and really, not well. And after a few major missteps…God turns his eyes away from Saul.

He tells Samuel to go seek another King…but this time…GOD was choosing.

So Samuel sets off for Bethlehem…but all the while, whether known or unknown, he’s writing the Kingly job description in his head…so that by the time he’s arrived, the “Linked in Profile” for the King of Israel was complete…and the profile picture, although still a little hazy…was pretty well filled in.

Sam arrives at the house of Jesse…and sees Eliab, the eldest son. And quickly sums up the situation:

“Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”

 The funny thing is he had tried this last time…picking a King on measurements and “manliness.”

Samuel…God’s prophet and judge was judging up a storm…”Oh, the tallest, oldest, most handsomest brother…he must be the chosen king!”

And if it can happen to Samuel…then it can certainly happens to us.

 It will come as no surprise that since the time when Judges were judging… we have been fueled by outward appearance. Our eyes deceive us.

Our eyes see the outside. They don’t readily see beneath the surface.

And so the power to control our outside…enhancing our appearance grows and grows…

And the message of verse 7 becomes more and more diluted when the message of the world seems to willfully contradict it…

It’s everywhere!

  • The plastic surgery billboard on the way to Grand Rapids…and back.
  • The onslaught of TV show and movies where the average clothing size is about 2…and the airbrushing budget is sky high.
  • And even closer still, the shallow values of appearance seem to reign on social media…people are ridiculed and bullied on Twitter for how they look. On Instagram we can filter our pictures to make them look extra appealing. And Facebook seems to be a perfect storm of echo chambers, get-togethers that didn’t include us, and still life pictures where everyone else’s life is seemingly perfect.

 And so when we look away from our screens and into the mirror…we see an unfiltered, un-airbrushed, un-affirmed self.

Its everywhere! Even here (point to heart)

But God does not see as mortals see…

God sees us and God values us in our totality.

God sees us

A pastor friend of mine pointed out this week that Samuel’s trip to Bethlehem was not a familiar one…

There was no inn or manger or line of Jesse…no song to point the way. Bethlehem was a back-water town with seemingly no prospects.

But it is from here that God chooses the next king…from a random farmer’s family. And not the handsome first born…but the adolescent sheep hand that his father almost forgets!

David is about as random as random gets!

But there is something about him that God sees. He is a man after God’s own heart.

And that’s what matters.

Friends, it is easy to feel small and unimportant. To feel out of the way and put out to pasture.

But God…God picks the kid IN THE PASTURE. Literally.

Time and time again God chooses the one the world does not.

The world picks …

The elder son over youngest.  Pharaohs over slaves. Boys over girls Rich over poor. The sons of priests over sons of Gad.

God pays Little ATTENTION TO THAT ORDER. God sees us. Oldest, youngest and in between.

God values us

Sam the prophet man gets off to a rough start in Bethlehem…after mistakenly assuming the elder brother is God’s anointed…he moves on to the second brother..and then the third…and on and on…

It’s a painful audition for the next King…with all the wrong criteria on display.

Its a Mr. Israelite Pageant…a scene from “The Israelite Bachelor” OR “Israel's Next Top Model.”

Can you tell I had some fun coming up with these?

Samuel is unconvinced by the producers casting. He is unsettled. He finally asks Jesse if there are any more sons…and sure enough, there is a Cinderella in hiding…a youngest son is tending sheep on the farm. His father had almost forgotten about him!

Samuel wasn’t the only one getting this wrong…David’s own FATHER didn’t remember him!

They both had picture in mind of what a King looked like.

We can hardly blame them. Frankly we do it all the time.

We let our preconceived notions of charisma, power, and authority run out in front of us…all the way to Bethlehem and beyond.

How refreshing it was to read about Homecoming at Buffalo Grove High School this week…where Amanda Ewald and Brett Wilkinson were crowned Homecoming King and Queen.

Amanda and Brett have down syndrome.

On a facebook post, Amanda’s sister Meghan wrote, “"Today was truly one of the happiest days of my life. My parents have fought for inclusion for my sister her entire educational career, and worked so hard to give her the best opportunities. Today my parents hard work, and Amandas drive to never give up, and always keep going has proved there are no limits to what my sister can do, her abilities are endless. As I sat beside my parents in the ceremony for homecoming, I experienced a happiness that I have only experienced one other time in my life- the day she was born. All my dreams came true the day I held my little sissy in my arms. Today all my dreams came true again when I got to witness a crowd going wild with excitement as my sister was crowned homecoming queen. Thank you Amanda and Brett for constantly reminding the world that you are limitless!"

I want to speak for a moment to all the children and youth in the room… adults…you can listen along as well if you want.

I wish I could tell you that you will never be judged by your appearance. That you’ll never feel a sense of inadequacy.

But that is not the world we live in.

And so instead, I want to give you 5 stones…5 things in hold in your heart so you can stand up to the Goliath of culture’s expectations.

First is: God loves you. End of story. Not if you do this or do that…God loves you. No matter what.

The second is: God sees you. I know that Jr. and High School can be lonely places. Friends that you thought were solid one day are gone the next. The innocence of K-5 is replaced with alliances and allegiances. And it may seem like you have to act a certain way or do a certain thing to fit in or stand out…Don’t. True friends would not ask this of you. Don’t do anything for the sake of being noticed.

God sees you. We see you. We are your family. We love you and see you.

The third is: God has given you a purpose. He’s not just looking for kings: he needs a full court. He needs the scribe, the court jester, the happy villager, the teacher, the pastor…

Our daughter Lulu asked me yesterday if she should be a scientist or an artist when she grows up..I said yes.

Follow your passion. Don’t try to be something you are not. Be who God has created you uniquely to be.

The fourth is: God values you. You are cherished and loved by God. And you are made in the image of God. Spend time with people that affirm this value. With people who value you…not degrade you.

Do not give yourself to someone who expects you to be a certain way or do certain things. Don’t be with people who question you, or criticize you, or cut you down. Don’t think that by doing a certain thing, you’ll be more accepted.

As my friend Bekah said, “Never trade your integrity for a fleeting moment.”

The work of seeing your value begins with you…and its hard work.

 I used to cut out pictures of Cover Girl ads and put their faces next to mine in the mirror…all I would see were my imperfections.

I know it is hard to not compare yourself with others. To think that you are not this or not that.

But you are…you are enough. You are unique. You are amazing. You are valued.

The fifth stone is that God forgives you. The truth is, we mess up. We’ll forget the we have the other four stones in our pocket. We’ll do something…say something…that we wish we had not. But God forgives us.

Look at David. At the height of his kingship, he conspired to murder another man and committed adultery with the man’s wife. He was a complex person. A man after God’s own heart but a man nonetheless.

And after God confronted him on his vile behavior…he wrote the Psalm for today:

Create in me a Clean heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within me.

This is our prayer too. Create in me a clean heart. Wipe out…

This is the good news. It is because of Jesus that we can

It only took David one stone to defeat Goliath….the other four were just for good measure. Thankfully we get to carry all five.

  1.  God loves you.
  2. God sees you.
  3. God purposes you.
  4. God values you.
  5. God forgives you.

However Goliath is showing up in your life…use these stones to defeat him. And know that there are people here…starting with Bryce, Betsy, Nate and me…who want to walk with you.

You are not alone.

God does not see as we see…(He sees all the way down there…right down to our heart).

Carry the stones with you. Pull them out in those moments of doubt, of uncertainty, of insecurity.

Knowing that God is always with us

Renee Krueger
The Journey: The Call of Samuel

October 15, 2017
1 Samuel 3:1-21
Lindsay Small

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who like to nap and those who don’t.

Or as Kyle says, “Those who nap and those who judge those who nap.”

I’ve done extensive research on this…but I must begin by saying that I put myself squarely in the ‘nap’ category.

In fact, I’m not sure I trust people who never take naps…too productive… too driven in my opinion.

And let’s just be clear, I’m not talking about a three hour nap.

Although it is written of Charlemagne, the first emperor of Europe…that “After his midday meal, he would eat some fruit, take another drink; then he would remove his shoes and undress completely…and rest for 2-3 hours…

So maybe the lengthy nap worked for him…and he still had time to unite Europe and such…

But I was actually talking about the power of the power nap.

20-30 minutes…just to close your eyes for a brief time…and you’re good to go.

There are entire cultures that center around naps:

-In Mediterranean Countries, the Siesta is a way of life…the combination of a big lunch and warm temperatures have made naps a way of life.

-A study in Greece not long ago said that napping can lead to a decrease in heart attacks…

-Naps are not just for aging European types…they’re becoming the hip thing in places like New York City…where you can pay to rent a sleeping pod at the Yelo salon…a 20 minute nap will run you $12…$65 if you want the reflexology treatment to go with it.

-I usually nap for free…a little Sunday afternoon shut-eye…nothing like it. So perhaps that’s why I like this passage so much…

Today’s passage is an ode to the nap…evidence that napping is not only healthy…its biblical.

Here it is…in the Bible…it must be good for us!

Proof that sometimes the best things come to those who nap… Biblical Napping…what could be better?

For those of you who are perhaps not familiar with this term (that I completely made up this week…)…allow me to explain.

And with your permission, I’ll use this passage as our guide… A sort-of ‘how-to’ guide of Biblical Napping…

I believe there are three characteristics…to the perfect Biblical Nap…

1)   Naps can taken really anywhere…even in church!

I’ve had some of you say that you take your best naps in church! I can see a few of right now testing this theory!

 I must admit I’m getting a little ahead of myself. It’s important to create a framework of Biblical Napping.

What led to the holy naps Eli and Samuel were taking? And frankly, who are these guys?

Samuel…a pre-teen in this passage…was the son of Hannah.

Chapter One of 1 Samuel is her beautiful and heart-wrenching story…a woman who longed for a child of her own. A woman who was taunted by her husband’s other wife for her inability to conceive. A woman’s whose tone-deaf husband said to her, “Aren’t I enough?” When clearly, if this guy had two wives…the question really should have been asked of him!

Hannah finds herself in the temple…crying out to God…vowing that if she were to have a son, she would commit his life to God…to be a priest himself.

And Eli, the priest, sees Hannah crying out and initially thinks she is drunk. But he soon sees that she is genuine in her anguish when he hears her crying out for a child, and soon gives her a blessing…

The Lord hears her cry…and she conceived…and bore a son, a boy named Samuel. And when the boy had been weaned…Hannah says,

‘For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.’

 That is Samuel. Given even before conception to God…destined to be a priest someday for the Lord.

Now, who is Eli?

We first meet Eli the priest in chapter 1, when his cursing of Hannah turns to blessing…

Now Eli had two sons…and we meet them for the fist time in chapter two,

12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three- pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. —Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord; for they treated the offerings of the Lord with contempt.”

Eli’s sons are essentially stealing from the kitty…skimming a little from the offering every week.

They are scoundrels! With no regard for God.

And when Eli finally confronts them…he realizes it is too little…too late.

So this is the backdrop for chapter 3…Eli the priest and Samuel his assistant…

All of this drama…all of these events…so its no wonder that in chapter three…

They are BOTH taking a nap!

I’m mean, nothing is more exhausting than family dysfunction! They needed a good lie-down!

And of course, the temple provides the perfect spot.

So again, the first trait of Biblical Napping is that naps can be taken anywhere…even in church!

The text says that Eli was resting in is room in the temple…but Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord…where the ark of the Covenant was.

The ark…the kind-of ‘mobile temple’…the container that held the 10 commandments…Samuel is napping in the same room.

And yet, the passage says that the Word of the Lord was rare in those days…and that it hadn’t been revealed to him yet. How interesting…here he is…in the same room as the Arc…but he had not heard from God yet…

Samuel must have been taught that the word of the Lord would be revealed to him at some point…and maybe that’s why he was in this room.

Resting…and waiting for the Lord to speak…

Even in his resting, Samuel teaches us an important lesson. Because human nature desires immediacy…answers right away.

If someone takes longer than 20 minutes to text me back…especially if I need an answer and sadly, especially if its my husband (sorry honey!)…I start to get annoyed.

We want God to speak to us…right now.

 But sometimes its about waiting…resting in God’s presence. Turning over the timing…to someone who knows better.

 Taking a posture of rest is foundational to Biblical Napping.

 And actually…foundational to life. God rested…we must rest.

Because a quiet, resting posture will inevitably lead to #2…

 The second characteristic of Biblical Napping…

2)  God can speak at anytime…even naps!

 Now because Samuel didn’t know the word of the Lord yet…when God finally does call…Samuel doesn’t know who is calling.

He thinks its Eli! Three times…he wakes up Eli…three times…

Now, I get annoyed when my kids wake me up one time! But three times!

But each time God calls to Samuel…his answer is the same… “Here I am!” ….in Hebrew “Hinani”

So far this fall we’ve heard a two other “Here I am’s.”

First from Abraham…when God asks him to sacrifice his son…and then Moses…when God asks him to free his people.

Hinani implies, “Here I am, ready, wiling and able.”

There's a special prayer on Yom Kippur called "Hinani" which starts, "Here I am in deep humility . . . "

Hinani…Here I am…the very word is a posture of faith, trust, and readiness…

And its a posture required of all of us: Hinani…Here I am…ready to be used…

One of the things I hear most from people is that either someone deems themselves too old or too young to be useful to God…

-How wonderful then to consider that Abraham was 100 and Samuel was 11 when they both said “Henani.”

 -We are NEVER too anything to not be used by God.

In our waking hours, in our resting hours…we are to be open and ready to God’s call.

Samuel says… “I’m here” and then ”I’m listening.”

God can speak at anytime…but sometimes…a resting posture is what is needed to hear God.

Henani is the deep breath before the journey…the look of resolve before a race…the stretch before the work-out.

Henani…here I am. Ready. Willing. Listening…because we know God’s call can come at any time…even in our sleep.

And the third characteristic of Biblical Napping is that…

3)  They are places to stop, but not stay…

When Samuel finally realizes that it was God who was speaking…he listens…

And God says…“See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.”

 Now those words would wake me up…have you ever felt your ears tingle?

And not just one…but both ears! I would imagine that by now, Samuel was sitting up!

But the words that follow are perhaps not the words Samuel was hoping for…

“On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.”

It might be that Samuel had wished he could have kept sleeping…God was talking about his mentor…Eli…God would punish him…and his sons.

Their behavior had gone too far. They were serving God in name only…but really serving themselves…literally…offerings that were meant for God.

So Samuel lay there until morning.

He lay there…not wanting to tell Eli the message from God. He was afraid. Eli called for him…”Samuel?” And he answered “Heneni.”

But he knew he could not stay silent…even if he wanted to…he needed to tell Eli…

Verse 18, “So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then Eli said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

We don’t like sharing bad news. And frankly, we don’t like hearing bad news. But in this case, both the sharer and hearer were faithful.

 It would have been easier for Samuel to slip out the Temple’s emergency exit…

It would have been easier for Samuel to skip over important details…to water down God’s message to Eli.

It would have been easier for Samuel to simply go back to sleep and ignore his mentor.

But God doesn’t ask us for easy.

God’s call to us is about moving into a place that seems right and hard, good and difficult, encouraging and perplexing.

(That’s why sometimes the naps are important!) But they are places to stop…not to stay.

-Our goal should never be total comfort.

-Our goal should be total faithfulness.

Samuel rested, waited, listened, and then rose. He was faithful. In his waking and his sleeping…

Samuel would go on to serve God as a prophet…He was a bridge between the period of Judges and the Monarchy…He would crown Saul and later would anoint David (a story we’ll consider next week).

And my guess is along the way he took more than a few Biblical Naps…

There is it…the guide to Biblical Napping…but perhaps its more than that.

Because while there may two types of people when it comes to napping… there is only one category when it comes to calling.

The Call of Samuel is a reminder that God has a call on each and every of our lives…

-No matter if you’re 11 or 111.

Determining that call is a beautiful mixture of resting and rising…of pursuing passion, need and vision,

And a constant posture of Henani.

Here I am Lord…waking and sleeping…ready to follow you

Renee Krueger