|Amos - James Tissot|
TO CHEW ON: "Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah:
'I was no prophet, nor was I the son of a prophet but I was a sheepherder and tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock and the Lord said to me, "Go prophesy to My people Israel."'" Amos 7:14-15
Amos was on the defensive. Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, had reported him to King Jeroboam II because of his negative prophecies, no doubt hoping the king would expel Amos from the land. Amaziah himself ordered Amos off his religious turf: 'Go be a prophet—ply your trade—in your own land of Judah' he said (Amos 7:12,13).
(You may recall that worship at Bethel involved a golden calf that the first king Jeroboam set up when he wanted to keep the ten tribes of Israel from returning regularly to Judah to worship at the Jerusalem temple - 1 Kings 12:25-33. )
But Amos had complete confidence in his vocation. He was not a professional prophet, he told Amaziah. Rather he was a farmer. He is identified as "among the sheep breeders of Tekoa" (Amos 1:1). Here he tells Amaziah how the LORD gave him his assignment "…as I followed the flock. And the Lord said to me 'Go prophesy to My people Israel'" - Amos 7:15). Historians believe that his prophetic ministry (between 760 and 750 B.C.) was less than two years.
As I think of Amos, I wonder how aware and responsive we are to God's call. Would we be willing to switch careers if God called us to something different? Does God have our willingness for short assignments, or assignments of undetermined length?
Leslyn Musch advises well in her commentary on these verses:
"Be willing to receive and follow God's call regardless of your 'qualifications.' Training is vital to help you grow in your call and gifts but it is not a prerequisite to being called. Like Amos, respond to the Lord's call in faithfulness" - Leslyn Musch, Truth-In-Action Through Amos, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1185.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have ears tuned to Your voice and a heart to say 'yes' to whatever and wherever Your calling sends. Amen.
MORE: Ordinary vs. special calling
Os Guinness in his book The Call, speaks about a person's "ordinary calling" and "later special calling":
"…. A special calling refers to those tasks and missions laid on individuals through a direct, specific, supernatural communication from God. Ordinary calling, on the other hand, is the believer's sense of life-purpose and life-task in response to God's primary call, 'follow me,' even when there is no direct, specific, supernatural communication from God about a secondary calling.
In other words, ordinary calling can be seen in our responsibility to exercise a high degree of 'capitalist-style' enterprise about how we live our lives. For example, the servants in Jesus' parable of the talents and pounds were assessed according to how they 'got on with it' when the master was away. In this sense no follower of Christ is without a calling, for we all have an original calling even if we do not all have a later, special calling. And, of course, some people have both" - Os Guinness, The Call, pp. 48, 49 (emphasis added).
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.