You may be familiar with the phrase, “God doesn’t call the equipped – God equips the called.”
Most of us are happy to carry out God’s directives when the task is easy. But when God draws us out of our comfort zone into the difficult or the unknown, we tend to wrestle with his call.
A popular word today is empower. At Baptism the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and empowers us, equips us, gives us the strength to live as the children of God. But as life goes along, we begin to forget that the Spirit is present to empower us to do what we have no power to do alone. The Spirit will put the right words in our mouths and give us the correct tools in our hands to accomplish the work destined for us from all eternity. We have Jesus’ assurance that, through his Spirit, we will be given exactly what we need at the exact time we need it. “My grace is enough for you.”
Have you ever felt from the depth of your being what one writer called a “shout of God’s confidence” that prompted your “I can do this” response? If so, then you have already experienced the gift of reassurance that it’s possible to live in what another writer calls the “good possibilities of God!” This experience calls us to acknowledge that we have been touched by grace to perform something that seemed impossible or too challenging and yet we realize that we are guaranteed we have what is needed to do the task. We think that we know our own capabilities, but God likes to stretch us beyond what we think is possible. From moment to moment we are dependent on the Lord who equips us with all we need to do what is in the Divine plan for us.
So we believe that “God equips the called.” But there is more to that saying. God is saying to each of us: “And you have been called!!” Christians down through the centuries have heard these words. And, in hearing them and responding to them, they have proved that, in their ordinary lives, they could be courageous and self-sacrificing in giving their time and talents to making the Kingdom present in their midst. People like us can do the same. We might admit we are not charismatic nor influential, have not accomplished great things nor received numerous outstanding awards. But those who have gone before us probably thought the same. They are the saints –examples of ordinary people whom God had called and given the opportunity to do the simple, ordinary, everyday things in extraordinary ways. It is absolutely true that, when God brings us to a certain task God will be with us to carry the task through. Of course, we know that it probably won’t be done perfectly, but all God asks is our service and then leave the outcomes to God.
What, then, are we specifically called to do? Bishop Barron preaches about God’s plan and God’s accompanying gifts that equip us, the faithful, to carry out the church’s mission here on earth. It’s not an easy task, he admits, but we’ve got to realize that our call is a non-negotiable challenge of bringing the world to Christ as messengers of love in serving our brothers and sisters everywhere. For each of us, the call is unique, but the goal is universal. Jesus spent his earthy life doing what his heavenly Father wanted, so as his followers we listen to the day-to-day call of God and cooperate as did he.
Someone once noted that the word ”go” is one of the smallest words in our language, but it is one of the largest in meaning. Perhaps it could be one of God’s favorite words, she says. “When God says GO, God is expecting us to face our important decisions, to work through our excuses, concerns and fears, and to answer him wherever he leads. That means: go somewhere new, do something hard, delve into deeper prayer, use our talents and opportunities generously, offer our assistance when needed. The possibilities are numerous.” Elizabeth Thompson writes in her book, When God Says Go, “God has prepared our assignment and the route for its accomplishment ages ago.” She pleads with each of us to open our hearts, ears, and hands and says: “God is calling…Ready, set…go!” So, lean into God’s plan in your life, seek his guidance and see where God will take you. What you do, how you do it and what that will mean to God’s people just might be even better than what you ever imagined!