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A Job Offer You Can’t Refuse

January 31, 2022

Here am I. Send me.” (Isaiah 6: 8b). “Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12).

When you are offered a job, you have two choices:  accept or decline.  You may negotiate before you accept or decline, but in the end, you either take the job or don’t take the job.  You may consider many factors before making a decision to accept or decline a job offer.  As we saw last week with Jeremiah, you might have second thoughts about whether you can do the job.  Or you might be concerned about who you will be working with, or if you will have to re-locate.  You may also wonder if you will be able to work well with the boss.  Will he or she shepherd you along, or leave you without support and guidance?  Do you respect and trust the boss?  Will you be able to depend on him or her?  We see many people wrestling with job offers in sacred Scripture.  This week’s Scripture texts describe two job offers and the reactions to those job offers.[1]

About 740 B.C., Isaiah had an incredible vision: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne, and the rain of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim . . . and they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’” (Excerpts Isaiah 6: 1-3). Overcome by the presence of the Almighty God, his all-consuming majesty and holiness, Isaiah was struck with his own unworthiness.  But as soon as he confessed that he was unworthy, something astounding happened: “Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched you lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for’” (Isaiah 6: 6-7).  

Whoosh! The slate was wiped clean in a flash! 

Having dealt with Isaiah’s guilt and insecurities, Isaiah heard God asking, “Now, who should I send to tell the people the truth about me?” Isaiah, overcome by the moment, and unburdened by his guilt, accepted the challenge and said: “Here am I.  Send me!” (Isaiah 6: 8b).  That whole series of events was undoubtedly the most over-the-top prelude to a job offer in the history of the world.  Can you imagine how pumped-up Isaiah was at that moment?  

Then the Lord described his duties.  He was to go out and tell the people the truth about him, but he should be prepared for no one to understand or believe him because he would be preaching to people with hardened hearts.  The job description brought Isaiah back down from the mountaintop.  Still, he kept his word and was imbued by God with great spiritual gifts. It is believed that he stayed in the same job for over 60 years.

Centuries later, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, approached Peter with a job offer.  He didn’t approach him out of the blue.  Jesus had been living in Peter’s home and he had known Jesus for at least a year.  But it was at that time that Peter, a fisherman, realized that Jesus was divine after he miraculously filled their nets with fish following a night of having caught nothing.  Peter had the same reaction that Isaiah had when he was face-to-face with the divine—he confessed his unworthiness to be in his presence: “He fell at Jesus knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man‘” (Luke 5: 8).  But instead of leaving him, Jesus made Peter an offer he couldn’t refuse—to join him in his quest to win the hearts and minds of God’s beloved people—to become a fisherman of men.

In his letters to the new churches, Paul explains that when we accept the gift of redemption–of salvation–we are given spiritual gifts that help us follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Traditionally, there are seven spiritual gifts: wisdom that opens our minds and attracts us to the holy; an understanding  of Scripture and God’s will; counsel  or a type of spiritual intuition about the things of God; fortitude  or endurance to run the race, to stay the course; knowledge to see things from God’s perspective; piety or reverence and reliance on God; and fear or awe of God, and his holiness and glory.    These are the tools with which God equips us to do the jobs that he offers to us.  In next Sunday’s epistle, Paul tells the church in Corinth (and us): “Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church” (1 Corinthians 14: 12).  Paul is talking here about building up the community of believers–the church.  

As a believer you have been gifted by the Holy Spirit with spiritual gifts.  These are the tools at your disposal to use in your service to God.  You have been given a job offer: to help build up the body of believers.   Use the spiritual gifts that you have received through God’s grace and abundant love for you. 

Will you accept?  Will you say “yes” to God’s offer?  How is the boss, you ask?  He is the best boss ever . . . and ever . . . and ever. . . 

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

Prayer: “Grant me, O Lord, to know what is worth knowing, to love what is worth loving, to praise what delights you most, to value what is precious in your sight, to hate what is offensive to you.  Do not let me judge by what I see, nor pass sentence according to what I hear, but to judge rightly between things that differ, and above all to search out and do what pleases you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

                                                                                    –Thomas A Kempis

[1] The Scripture texts for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany are Isaiah 6: 1-13; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthians 14: 12-20; Luke 5:1-11.

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