As I sit to write these words this morning, I’m “catching my breath” and enjoying a few hours of relative quietness and a slowed down pace. In the last two months Joyce’s and my schedule has included several important trips to be with our OC family in different parts of the world: Southern California, Hume Lake Christian Camps, Spain, Mexico, and Texas.
When back in the office between these trips, I’m quickly impressed with the busyness of life and ministry among our dedicated U.S. Mobilization (US-MC) staff as we’re walking through many transitions and tending to vital ministries throughout OC’s world.
God Calls Ezekiel
In the midst of this context, I was struck afresh by some words I read this morning in the opening chapters of Ezekiel. As Ezekiel is being called by God to be a prophet to Israel in a very challenging season in their lives – their captivity in Babylon – we have this exchange between Ezekiel and God:
“Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me… And he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. He then said to me: ‘Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.’” (Ezekiel 2:9 – 3:4)
Here are a few observations from this passage that came to me this morning, important for me to remember and perhaps also for you:
- In our relationship with the Lord He’s always taking the initiative. It’s about His mercy and grace reaching out to us – “Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me.” In our relationship with the Lord, we’re simply responding to His gracious, continuous wooing.
- As with Ezekiel, the Lord’s calling in our lives is often quite daunting, way beyond our ability to fulfill. But with the calling comes His enablement. Again, as with Ezekiel, the enablement often comes to us through the “scroll,” God’s personal word and revelation to us in the scriptures.
- The above provision being true, I’m reminded again of how important it is in the midst of the busyness of life and ministry to simply sit with the Lord and allow Him to feed me through His word.
As I do so, I find my soul is refreshed and nourished – “So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Out of His rich provisions for me, I then can become a channel of His words to others – “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.”
I pray this ancient story might be instructive for each of us today in our own walk with the Lord Jesus, responding to His gracious initiative, sitting at His feet and receiving His abundant provisions for His callings in our lives and ministries.
More about Ralph
One Challenge was blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for over 20 years. They tended to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel, and encouragement. In 2020, Ralph handed over this role to Gill, another great man of the Lord, who is walking alongside OC workers in their ministry journey together.
Read more articles here: From the Pastor’s Pen.