God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NIV)
Our Sunday School class has a “Friends and Family Plate.” This large ceramic plate has a poem on it that talks about how no one owns the plate. It comes with a gift to you and in turn, when you recfeive it, you send it on to someone else. The plate began circulating with baked goods on it. A cake, cookies, cupcakes or muffins would be loaded upon it and given to someone in Sunday School. The several times I have received it, I enjoyed the treat, but always wondered how to select the next receipent. Sometimes, I would just hand it to the first person I saw. Other times, I would choose someone who was new to class. Last time, I received the plate, it had a different mission. Sometime early that morning before class members arrived, it was left sitting on a table in our classroom. Instead of a homemade gift, it held a note. I sat at that table, but did not take the plate instead pushed it in the direction of some newcomers. When they opened the card, it was an invitation for everyone who sat at the table to join another couple at their home for dinner which was held tonight. Eight of us were treated to an excellent meal, but even better was the company. None of us knew each other well. The table that Sunday had been made up of visitors, new members as well as some old timers like my husband and I. So, around the table, we had a chance to get to know each other better. Two of the couples were foster parents and because my job now involves some review of the foster care system, we had some discussion about its inadequacies as well as the joys and sorrows of being a foster parent. My husband commended them for their commitment to try and make the lives of these children better even if they were only in their homes for a short time. He said, “You all are so driven,” but one of the foster dads replied, “No, we are not driven, we are called.” I thought about his comment a lot as we drove home. Some might not see the difference in those two words, but I do. God gives us ministries to fill, and people to serve, but He also expects us to spend time in worship and relationship with Him. We do all of that, not because we have to, not because we are forced to, but because He asks us to. I am not driven towards God or to His work like a cow into a pen. Instead, I am called to come. I have a choice to obey or to walk the other way. God will not force us to Him. He waits patiently and gently for us to respond. The neat thing is that when we do, He gives us all we need to fulfill His purpose and plan for our lives.