Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/7/2022

Today please be in prayer for

Cody Hunt's Chapel UMC
Great West District
Crawford First UMC
Harrison Memorial UMC
Whitney Warring Memorial UMC
Great West District
Culbertson Trinity UMC
Trenton First UMC
Great West District
Curtis First UMC
Garden Prairie UMC
Great West District

Today's Lectionary Text

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”

Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Today's Devotional

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 25 years since I was called into the ministry. Time flies so fast! I can clearly remember years ago trying to identify what scripture passage I identified with my call.
You see, I was called just prior to annual conference in 1996. At the time, I would attend annual conference as a representative for my employer, who had a vested interest in maintaining a relationship with the United Methodist Church. The weekend prior to annual conference, I was busy pulling weeds in my garden when I heard God call me into the ministry not once, twice or three times, but four times. Upon hearing God’s voice the fourth time, it was like everything made sense; things just fit together.
So, I embarked on a search to find a scripture passage that echoed my call. After looking at several passages, I came across 1 Samuel 3:1-11. Realizing Samuel heard God’s voice four times, mistaking God’s voice for Eli’s the first three times, it seemed a perfect fit. Indeed, it has been! I am Sam and Samuel is me.
Through the years, I’ve preached from this passage numerous times. Looking back on it now, however, it seems there is a new illumination God is bringing forth from it. The light God shines forth from it relates directly to my call. As someone back in the day told me: make certain you know your call because there will be times in ministry where your call will keep you.
My call has certainly kept me. It has refined me, sometimes the way pressure makes coal into a fine diamond. My call has reminded me how God is constantly refining me. My call and 1 Samuel 3:1-18 serve as constant reminders of why I went into servant ministry.
In good times, my call constantly reminds me of the ways God uses me to make a positive difference in people’s lives. In more difficult times, my call reminds me that when I take Peter Boehler’s advice to John Wesley – “to preach Christ until you have Christ, and when you have Christ you will preach him” – to a level suited for my life, that the most important thing I can do is simply be who God needs me to be because when I do that, no one can take it from me.
May the same be true for you.
-Rev. Mark Crist
Holdrege First UMC

Prayer for Reflection

Ever-loving God, thank you for your call. Whether your call is to servant ministry and ordination or your call is to business ownership, teaching, nursing, industrial work, farming or doing janitorial work, I pray that you may you help me simply rest in the assurance that you see me and call me to something that makes the ears of anyone who notice it tingle. Who you help your children become, Lord, speaks volumes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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