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Let’s have a quick look at how some significant Old Testament figures responded to the call of Yahweh:

Moses:Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue…

… ‘Pardon your servant, Lord.  Please send someone else.’ (Exodus 4:10;13)

Jeremiah: ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’

Gideon:Forgive me, my lord, but how can I deliver Israel?  My clan, you must know, is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least important in my family.’ (Judges 6:15)

We are very quick to find reasons why we can’t possible be the person for the job.  I’m just a shepherd, I’m not clever enough, I’m too inarticulate, I’m too old, too young… the list is endless.  We are very keen on labelling ourselves and then somehow we feel obliged to conform to those labels.  God, however, is not interested in labels.  He knows who we truly are and he also knows who we can become.

God’s persistence with Moses and Jonah can seem pretty amusing to us now and the way he doesn’t give Ezekiel an opportunity to get a word in edge-ways makes hilarious reading, but consider this:  We know of his call to these men only because they accepted – albeit reluctantly – the task God gave them.  What of those who persisted in their notion that they were too young / old / insignificant / inarticulate?  We’ll never know who they were, nor what it was that God wanted them to do.

How do we label ourselves?  Do any of the labels we apply to ourselves restrict us in following God’s call?  Perhaps it is time to lose a label or two in order that we may conform more clearly to the only label that really matters: ‘Child of God’.

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