Do you remember when you were told to clean your room? What did you do? You probably went in there and thought of ways to not do it. After a long time contemplating, you decided to either shove everything under the bed or put it in the closet. When your room is checked, you didn’t fool anyone. The shelves and boxes where your things should have been are still bare. Your closet gets opened and your sheets pulled back exposing your lack of obedience.
Sure the floor is free of clutter, but you didn’t do what was asked. You didn’t clean your room. You merely rearranged it without putting things where they belonged. In your mind, you think you obeyed, but deep down you know what you did was an act of defiance. You try to argue your case by using technicalities, but you don’t get very far. What you’ve done is caused more work for yourself and lost more time because you have to do it over the right way.
Saul was like that. He got specific instructions from God on what to do, but somehow put the toys in the closet every time. He obeyed, but didn’t. Each time he had an excuse for doing what he did. God finally had enough and Samuel called him out on it. In I Samuel 15:22-23 Samuel said to Saul, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king” (NLT).
Each of us struggle with simple obedience for some reason. God gives us simple instructions, but somehow we complicate them. God is looking for us to simply obey what He’s asked us to do. Anything other than obeying His call on your life is an act of rebellion in His eyes. Whatever He’s called you to do, you need to do. Wherever He’s called you to go, you need to go. Whatever He’s called you to say, you need to say. Don’t find ways to put they toys in the closet. Do what He’s asked willingly and with a good attitude and your life will be fulfilled like never before.
Since I was a child, I have heard the story of King Saul in I Samuel 13. The army of Israel had won a small skirmish with a Philistine garrison. The Philistines then mustered an army several times the size of the Israelite army. As they waited for battle, fear crept into the Israelite camp. Men began to desert the army. Those that remained were visibly afraid. Saul looked around, saw their fear, and then checked the calendar. Where was the prophet Samuel? He had said he would be there by now.
As he watched more troops leave, he decided decisive action is what was needed to keep the troops. Verse 9 says, “So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself” (NLT). Wouldn’t you know that as soon as he finished with the burnt offerings, Samuel showed up. Saul realized that he jumped the gun. He ran to Samuel hoping to smooth things over, but Samuel wouldn’t hear it. He explained what a foolish thing he had done, and now God would take the kingship from him.
For me, this story is a reminder to stay patient when doing what God asks. If we let our circumstances dictate our obedience, we will fail and miss out on the blessings of God. It’s hard enough to stay obedient when God is silent, let alone when your circumstances show your obedience isn’t paying off. The easy thing to do is make assumptions, but assumptions often lead to disobedience. If God asked you to do something, you must keep at it until He says, “Stop.”
I Samuel 15:22 says, “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” Whatever God has called you to do, obedience to that calling is most important. Your calling may seem small and insignificant. It may lack the spotlight that you want, but it is a valid calling. Don’t ditch it to do something more spiritual. God has you doing exactly what He wants you to until He’s ready to give you more. Stay obedient in the silence and God will reward you in due time.
Have you ever been rocked by a single question? There was a question asked last night that I’m still wrestling with the answer to. It was, “Are you just being busy for God or are you fulfilling your calling?” It’s a very humbling question. When you think about it, how much of what we do is just busy work and how much is truly fulfilling our calling? I believe each person has a calling on their life to do something. Each person was created unique for a reason only they can fulfill.
God is not pleased when we’re just being busy for Him. His desire is that each of us fulfill His calling for us. I think of Martha and Mary and how Jesus came to visit them. Luke 10:40 says, “Martha overly occupied and too busy was distracted with much serving. (AMP)” We can get to the point that our business for God becomes a distraction more than it is a help. Martha’s was serving Jesus, but that wasn’t her calling. She was busy, but not productive.
Another story from the Bible that came to mind was from I Samuel 14. Saul was outnumbered by the Philistines and wasn’t sure what to do. His son Jonathan got his armor bearer and decided to go attack the entire Philistine army themselves. While Saul prayed and acted busy for God, Jonathan went to fulfill his call. When Jonathan attacked, Saul and his men didn’t know what was happening. They took a count of everyone and found Jonathan was missing. Saul called decided to pray again while the battle raged. He finally joined his son once the Philistines were running.
We can use prayer to keep us from doing what God called us too. We can use serving in God’s house to be busy for God while running from our calling. There are a number of things we can use to be busy while not fulfilling our calling. Just because we don’t get in a boat and head the opposite direction like Jonah doesn’t mean we aren’t in the same boat as he is when we are busy doing things for God instead of doing what He told us.
I know it’s scary to think about what God called you to do. I know there’s lots of questions you have about how, when and where. Don’t get so scared of your calling that you hide behind being busy instead of following that call. God isn’t pleased with that. That’s not what you were created for. You will never be fulfilled in that role and you will grow weary. Chances are you won’t be very productive either. Martha wasn’t. She wanted Mary to leave her calling to come help her. She was busy serving, but not productive. Saul was busy praying, but not productive. Is serving important? Yes. Is praying important? Yes. But you can’t hide behind them when God said, “Go!”
What things are you using to be busy for God instead of fulfilling your calling? Are you truly fulfilled doing those things or do you feel like there’s more? You can serve in the house of God and still not fulfill what you were called to do. Remember there are others who are waiting on the other side of your obedience. They can’t move forward until you do. Leave those things that you’re using to be busy and start doing what you were made to do. No one else can do it because that’s why you were created. Live a fulfilled life by following your calling.