Daily Dose, March 10 — Mission & Outreach

  Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:1-10) I wanted to be a forest ranger when I began my college journey at Dekalb Junior College. I chose a pre-forestry major and took two wonderful courses in botany with Dr. Sanko. Chemistry 101 changed my direction, and I became a business major and transferred to Mercer University. I excelled in all areas -- especially accounting. I thought about being a CPA. I considered law school as I neared graduation and began to fill out applications. I even toured the Emory Law School building and met with an advisor. Then God showed up. Or, more honestly, I began to listen to the God, who was always there stirring within me. And I began listening to trusted leaders who were older and wiser than me, who sensed that I had “a call to preach.” It didn’t look like a boatload of fun, and I couldn’t see any money in it. It appeared way too “churchy” for my taste, since I like an occasional beer and I’m prone to cuss when I bump my head. So on a sleepless night in July of 1975, I sat down and wrote a letter to a Methodist preacher friend asking for direction and advice. And the rest is now history. Please know that I’m doing okay financially, and I’m having a boatload of fun. Granted -- I’ve been luckier than most, and the churches I’ve served -- especially you -- have accepted me just “as I am, without one plea,” mostly. Which is my way of saying that if God wakes you up at midnight and you find out from Eli that the Lord is calling you into His service, say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” You might very well find yourself to be the pastor of the finest church in Christendom, writing about the day you said yes to God, as the tears well up in your eyes. -- Y'all come, Dr. Don