He called him out: he knew not where,
An unknown land to north and south
And east and west:
But He who called him also loved—
Sure He knew best.
He led him on o'er unknown land;
He walked in hand and step with God,
With Him as friend;
What need to ask the why or where
His callings end?
And still He calls, and leads the way,
And they who answer to His call
Need have no fear.
For He Who leads them also loves:
This answers all.—F. Howard Oakley (written during a night walk from the ruins of Abram's city to Ur Junction in Iraq)
(Gen. 12. 1-5; Hos. 11. 1; Mark 1. 20; 2 Tim. 1. 9)
So Matthew left his golden gains
At the great Master's call;
His soul the love of Christ constrains
Freely to give up all.
(Mark 2. 14; Luke 5. 27, 28)
Dr. Donald Carr of Persia was asked how he got the call to serve the Lord as a missionary in Persia. His reply was, 'I had no call to stay at home but I had the command to go.'
(Matt. 28. 18-20; Mark 16. 15)
When I stood at the crossways in my early life to choose my career, I decided for the Bar. My father was making all the necessary arrangements for my being articled in a solicitor's office, but just when I was about to begin, an old Sunday School teacher of mine met me. I can perfectly remember where we met. It was on the North Bridge in the town of Halifax. He asked me what I was going to do with myself, and I told him I was going in for the Law. He quietly answered, 'I always hoped and prayed you would go into the ministry.' That was a momentous word. It threw all my life into confusion. I went exploring down another road, and I met the great Companion, Christ. In reverence I obeyed His call to follow. At the end of thirty-five years I have to say that I have never regretted my choice.—Dr. J. H. Jowett
(Ps. 78. 70, 71; Acts 26. 16-18; 1 Cor. 1. 1; 1 Pet. 2. 21)
Sometimes the Church welcomes home a man whose speaking may be more or less effective, but his impressiveness is not dependent upon eloquence of speech. If he made an appeal for volunteers he would doubtless have an abundant response, but he usually seems loath to do so. When the young men get hold of him and ask for help in this problem of recognising a call, he says such stiff things that he leaves his enquirers asking: 'Who then can be called?'
His answer to the young men is uncompromising. 'What constitutes a call?'
`It is the summons of God to your spirit, for a special and specific service.'
`How does the call reach a man?'
`He will not perceive it through the senses nor reason it through the mind, therefore it is intangible and indefinable.'
`When it comes, does one know it unmistakably?'
`It is the breath of God upon the spirit, and the spirit of man feels, understands, knows and responds.'
`Must the call always be a personal one?'
`Seeing the service is to be a personal one, the call to it must be personal also.'
`Is the general command "Go" not sufficient in itself?'
`For the commission to service, certainly, and a very inclusive command it is—preach the gospel to every creature—but the general call is followed by individual designation. Seeing that the field is the whole world, it is more needful that each man hears the order which tells him where his own appointed sphere may be.'
`Missionary life, as I hear it presented, has a romantic and appealing side which makes the certainty of the call more difficult to distinguish. When I hear a missionary speak about Africa, I think my call is there, yet when I hear one tell of India, or of China, I believe that to be the place to which I should go.'
At this the missionary sat in silence for a moment seeming loath to put into words what he had in mind. At last he said:
`I fear that the whole issue has been hopelessly confused by the men and women who have gone abroad uncommissioned by their Master. They have increased the staff, but weakened the army, and we should have done better without them.'—Mildred Cable and Francesca French
(I Cor. 1. 17; 9. 1, 16)