“The Life We are Called to”

1 Timothy 6:6-12, 17-19 (MSG)
South & New Life Presbyterian Churches – September 25, 2016
The Reverend Deborah Fae Swift

1 Timothy 6:6-12, 17-19 (MSG)

 

6-8 A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough.

9-10 But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.

11-12 But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

17-19 Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

Okay.  Just a quick survey here.

How many of you have ever – in your whole life – called out to someone across the room?

 

How many of you have ever – in your whole life – had somebody call out to YOU across a room?

 

All right … Now … How many of you have ever – in your whole life – called somebody on the telephone?

 

And how many of you have ever – in your whole life – been called by somebody else on the phone?

 

Okay. So we ALL have experience with calling and being called. Right?

 

What’s the purpose of calling?  Why does somebody do it to us?  Why do we do it to someone else?

  • To get their attention?
  • To warn them?
  • To celebrate with them?
  • To bring them close?

 

What HAPPENS when you hear somebody calling you?

Well, sometimes we pretend we don’t hear them if it’s somebody we don’t want to hear from. Right?

Sometimes we monitor our calls and when we see who it is, we let the machine or the voice mail pick up and then we listen to it later.

Sometimes, though, we’re very excited to hear from somebody – let’s say you’ve been worried about someone and then they give you a call – you’re so RELIEVED and excited to hear from them that you don’t even wait for the second ring. You pick up right away.

The ACT of calling and being called is very special and intimate in a way, isn’t it? Either YOU care enough to reach out and try to touch someone with YOUR voice … or THEY care enough to reach out and try to touch YOU with THEIR voice.

And yet as soon as we talk about GOD being the one who is doing the calling, we all sort of freak out and look the other way …. “What?  Me???? Are you talking to me????? No, you can’t be calling ME!!!”

Or we don’t pick up the phone … we don’t answer and we let it go to voice mail because – I don’t know. Why do we do that? Maybe because we think it’s a wrong number. OR we think we don’t know what to say because, again, God couldn’t be calling ME!  Who am *I* that God should be calling me.

 

It’s okay that we call GOD whenever we want.

Somehow we never seem to get it that every relationship – even this one with God, or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit – EVERY relationship is a two-way street!

Why SHOULDN’T they call us? If we did all the calling, it would be a very one-sided relationship.

 

I have a friend or two like that.

I’m sure you have had, too … the one who never calls you and if you want to stay in touch you have to do the reaching out and calling them.

That’s not a healthy relationship, is it?

 

 

But here’s the thing.

God IS calling us all the time. God is reaching out to us to stay in relationship with us and sometimes we don’t even HEAR God because we’re not listening.

And in today’s reading, the writer is telling Timothy to pursue the righteous life – the life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy – because it is the life that he was CALLED to by God.

Well guess what … it’s the life that ALL of us are called to by God.

And that is the only criterion for success.

Success is not about money or fame. It’s not about status and celebrity.

Success is about seeking those things – a life of wonder … faith … love … steadiness … courtesy – because when we DO, we are living the life that we were CALLED to life by God.

 

So we can LIVE that life – which is like answering the call across the room or picking up the phone.  Or we can choose NOT to – which is like IGNORING the call across the room or letting the voice mail pick up the message.

It’s pretty simple really.

God’s calling.

Are we going to pick up or use Call Waiting?

Are we going to answer or let it go to voice mail?

Are we going to look across the room and make eye contact where the voice is coming from, or are we going to pretend we don’t hear it?

The choice is ours …                    Amen.

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