Put yourself in the servant’s place. First, God tells you that
you have been chosen to lead the nation of Israel back to
righteous living. Then God says you’re not only to guide Israel
but that your efforts and example will bring enlightenment to
the whole world. How would you react?
Like many of us, the servant at first sees himself as unworthy
of the great task God has set out for him. Then he realizes
that his feelings of inadequacy aren’t merely a falsely modest
response. False modesty denies God’s power to redeem human
failings and to transform those failings into holiness. This
“impostor sense” borders on sin because it separates us from
our authentic identities as spiritual beings rooted in the Creator.
Once the servant embraces this enlightenment, God expands
the holy task. To our contemporary eyes, God seems like a coach
who urges an athlete on to greater feats. Thus the servant will
guide not only Israel back to God; he will serve as “a light to
the nations” so that all who encounter him or his story will turn
toward God themselves.
In ancient texts, the word salvation carries a much broader,
more inclusive meaning than merely the assurance of eternal
life. In God’s economy, salvation embraces all the spiritual and
physical health and wholeness that makes human life a joyous,
In verse 7, God speaks, confirming that the willingness of
others to hear and affirm the words of the servant depends solely
on God’s faithfulness and choosing of the servant. Only God’s
choosing of him endows the lowly servant with significance.
Each of us has a holy task to perform in God’s quest for human
salvation; we are chosen and empowered for that purpose.
O Holy One, grant me the urgent desire to learn your will for my life, and give me the faith to pursue what you have chosen for me. Amen.
The theme of God’s calling all believers to a life of ministry runs through all four of this week’s scripture passages. We discover that God’s call always requires a response! The Isaiah passage, one of the Servant Songs that points to Jesus, reminds us that God is the one who pursues and calls. The psalmist exemplifies the call to give witness when God shows up and is found to be faithful. In the opening of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminds us of his own calling and then goes on to emphasize that all are called by God and set apart for ministry. And in John’s Gospel, we receive an example of testifying to God’s presence in our lives and the important calling of bringing others to Jesus.
• Read Isaiah 49:1-7. How has God taken the initiative to work in your life and call you to faith? What mission has God given you?
• Read Psalm 40:1-11. List the ways that God has been faithful to you in showing up and answering your prayers. How have you given witness to God’s faithfulness?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. What gifts has God given you to fulfill your calling to ministry?
• Read John 1:29-42. How might you cultivate the discipline of “mindfulness” in your spiritual life?
Respond by posting a prayer.