This week I was overcome with a very, very strong feeling that I should be writing about the subject of bird calls.
Sure, I’m no ornithologist. I barely can pronounce the word! But as spring begins, the birds are back and chatting it up in the garden. They flit from tree to tree and then to one or more of the birdhouses hung in the old, dead peach tree as they look for a likely spot to build a nest. As they search, they call to one another.
Who could mistake the call of the Chickadee as anything but the sound of the bird’s own name? Cardinals call out while they fly; “Chip. Chip. Chip.”
When I was little, the call of the Blue Jay sounded like “Dad! Dad!” — probably because my brothers and I would have used that call ourselves as we waged our childish skirmishes while Dad worked nearby in his garden.
Yes, bird calls are fascinating, even to those of us who are fairly ignorant about them. It gives us pause to wonder what they are saying.
We also have an innate curiosity about what God is telling us from day to day, don’t we?
Notice the opening sentence of this column. I had a very, very strong feeling. However, I am not called. Oh, I could pretend that God whispered in my ear on an airplane, as one very prominent writer of women’s books claims. I could even write a book, call it “The Beezbul,” or some such name; filled with supposed revelations by God himself, delivered by an angel.
Or I could be brutally honest with myself and you, by saying that I had a very, very strong feeling.
Would my readers be more edified if I told them that “God laid it on my heart” to write this? No, at least not for the right reasons, they wouldn’t.
Would it lend more authority to my words if I said I was “called by God” to write this, or that, or anything at all? Oh, I truly hope not, for your sakes! Be like the Bereans, and make sure that every word you believe and take to heart is based in Scripture.
Many of us lack confidence that we are doing the best we can at any given task. These words, “I was called” may be a confidence booster, but it lays responsibility for our own actions on the holy and perfect God, rather than ourselves. Dare we presume to do that? It is downright disrespectful, to say the least.
In the Bible, there were strict parameters for those who claim to speak from God (Deuteronomy 18:14-22).
There is mention of our calling, but it is a calling that is shared by all Christians; that of a life devoted to God and then preserved through eternity. (Romans 1:6)
We are told to make it secure (1 Peter 1:10).
We are to live worthy of that calling.
“I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1, NASB).
Perhaps the most important reason of all for us not to claim special “callings” by God – it divides us rather than unites us. We are all called in the same hope.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).