1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli; it was rare for the Lord to speak in those days; visions were uncommon. One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Once again the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down.’ Samuel had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again the Lord called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli then understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’
Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of the Lord.
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
Speak Lord, Your servant is listening
When I was much younger, I used to have hopes and dreams of one day becoming a sister or nun. Every day, I would pray to God to call me and would also try my best to hear Jesus’s call in the form of a whisper. Growing up in an IJ school certainly provided me with a lot of time in school to spend time with the Lord and pray to Him. Later, I went to a state junior college and I’m currently in a state university. Sadly, I am spending less time with Him, and now it is much harder for me to listen to Jesus. I have realized how distant I have grown from the Lord in terms of spiritual development, and how I am so involved in getting the best grades and career, that I have completely lost sight of my childhood dreams of becoming a clergy.
I realize that there are a lot of distractions in today’s world. It could be in the form of chasing for wealth, status, sex and power. We all need these to survive in today’s competitive world. Perhaps deep down in our heart, we know that all these are fleeting, and that only God is eternal, but we are more willing to spend time with these temporal and material things. By chasing for all these, it means that we are on survival mode. After all, without money, how can we have enough to eat or have a roof over our heads? Without power, how can we get ahead of others and obtain privileges to lead a comfortable life?
But being on survival mode means only one thing — we do not trust in God. And it means just that one thing, we do not trust in the abundant providence of God. We think that we can do without God, so we need to possess material things to survive. By constantly feeding our materialistic desires, we are unknowingly and subconsciously leading spiritually empty lives, and this can be very dangerous for our own souls. Spiritual emptiness is a gateway for greater vices, and this can lead to life-threatening addictions or exploitations.
While it is important for us to survive, we should also not be laidback and complacent, thinking that God will provide for us. We need to do our best, and God will do the rest. But doing our best doesn’t mean that we overachieve in pursuit of wealth or power or fame and become materialistic. We should never neglect or ignore our spiritual development. Doing our best means that we develop holistically, both in material and spiritual aspects.
Perhaps, one day, God might call one of us to join the clergy. Hopefully, we will be able to listen to His voice and respond to His call accordingly.
(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please pray for us to listen to Your voice and not get consumed by materialistic desires. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for being patient with us in responding to Your mission that You have for us, as well as for fulfilling our material needs. Amen.