How does the call of God come to us? It usually comes through other people. God’s call to Mary came through an angel. In our lives, it usually comes through relatives, pastors, or friends. Because it reaches us in such a common and undramatic way, it may go unrecognized. To hear Him, we need to keep our souls sensitive by promptly obeying Him in those things we know very well are His will.
God’s call usually comes without everything being spelled out. Abraham was called to leave Ur of the Chaldees before knowing his destination (Gen. 12:1). Mary could not understand how she could conceive a child without a husband (Luke 1:34). Peter fell into a trance, saw a sheet with all kinds of animals and birds in it, and was commanded to kill and eat. With his orthodox Jewish background, however, the apostle could not understand how he could eat creatures considered unclean (Act 10:13-14). God’s call always comes as a call to sacrifice that leads to blessings for others. Missionaries cannot enter foreign lands to preach, help, and heal without first forsaking their own comfort zone or their own country and culture. God blessed the human race through the sacrifice He made of His only begotten Son. He requires sacrifice on our part too in order to make us a blessing.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). It is a peculiarity of sheep that they respond not to the shepherd’s clothing, body motion, or smell but His voice. We need to walk before the Lord quietly and attentively and study His words in the Bible. We need to be in church often and to pray much. If we love Him, whether we are missionaries, pastors, or laypeople, we will yearn to hear for ourselves the intensely personal call of God so that we can express our love for Him in every detail of our lives.