CALL TO SERVICE BY IFIDON BENSON
The Lord has called every one of us and bid us to serve Him in whatever capacity our interest and talent will take us. From the very beginning, man was made in-order to serve God. However, the Lord does not compel us to follow Him or do His bids .Instead He wants us to serve Him willingly out of love. In that wise, He extends His hand of fellowship to all. The ritual of worship and fellowship which originally was designated for the Jews eventually was extended to everyone by Jesus Christ. “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out the servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come….Then he said to the servants, the wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways and gather together as many as you find, invite to the wedding.” See Matt.22:2-9. Now you see for yourself that God has need of your service. It is not a matter of, it is brother this or sister that’s role. We all have our talents which make us unique. It is this diversity of spirit that moves the church of God forward. The irony of it today is that this spirit is not even identified by the owner talk more of using it for God’s work. We must as a matter of necessity and urgency find out the area we fit in for God’s work.
To replicate acutely the call to service, it is pertinent we look at the life of Elisha the servant of Elijah and know how precisely he was able to utilize his gifted potentials to the service of God. At the terminal point of Elijah the reformist ministry, God told him to anoint Elisha as a replacement. Elisha was not told ahead of this development. Yet when the man of God met him, he never refused the offer; instead, he gladly accepted it. “So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him, and he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”” See 1Kings19:19-20. Elisha never thought of self nor the pains and anguish that will accompany the task he was called to do. Nor the pains and suffering of aloofness from his parents, rather with love and enthusiasm he accepted.
The call we are given is a unique and distinct one which is devoid of self. Immediately Elisha accepted the job he went with his master. In learning the task, difficulties were encountered, but God proved Himself. Due to his dedication and commitment to service, he was able to know when the time was ripe for his master to go. The master wanted to go on this mission alone and told the servant to wait for him. Did he accede to that? He went with him all through. Consequent on that, the master bid him to make a request. Guess what? He requested for the double portion of his anointing. Though a herculean task, but the master told him, if he is able to see him at the time the Lord will take him away, then, it will be possible. A servant master relationship, indeed, I wish this still exists today.
In the course of this exercise, his personality was slighted, his knowledge was tested, his ability was put on hold, and above all, his charisma was subjected to test. In all their denigrating and degrading approach, he never faltered. You mean to ask why? He was in consultation with God in all his deals. Despite the disgraceful treatment meted on him by his people, he did not use that as an avenue to pull them down. He came to their aid by healing the barren land and bad water. Read 2Kings2:19-21.
Elisha presented himself fully to God for use, and He did use him. What about you? The count is one on one and not on plurality. The service of Elisha is read and remembered today by any willing fellow that reads the scripture. What helped him to accomplish this work was his dedication and commitment to service. He stayed glued to the Lord and the Lord did not leave him. He is very willing to do same to all of us, but on a condition…complete surrendering of self.
A cursory look at the life and experience of the servant of Elisha will ascertain the degree of his understanding of who God is and what He can do. Gehazi was the servant of Elisha. He accepted the responsibility of service but along the line could not curtail self. The resultant effect of this was a catastrophic fall. Gehazi had seen his master performed miracles before. He knew the master too well. But the God of the master that works out these wonders he never knew. Else, he would not have strayed easily to mere mundane things. Imagine gift items from a leprous man! To him he saw nothing wrong in collecting the gifts presented by Naaman since it was designed specially for that assignment. Here is where knowing God comes in. Today, we are quick to judge Gehazi because of his acceptance. Let us be objective. Are we not doing worse than him? It may sound funny but that is the truth. Have we not been disinterested in the service that we are saddled with? All hope is not lost. We can still make amend. God wants those who will religiously and conscientiously carryout his service without bringing in self. The deplorable situation of the church today is because of the unenthusiastic display of people in the course of their service. That is bringing self first before God.
In all, the Lord calls you and I to carry out this service to our friends, enemies and the entire world. There is joy when the work is done. But who does the work? It is open to all, if you cannot preach like Paul; you can hold the prophet’s hand and tell someone that Jesus loves him/her.