There are people who do amazing things, things I find it hard to imagine doing myself. These people inspire me. Missionaries who give up living in Western style comfort for the third-world mission field, doctors and midwives who pursue practices to under-served populations, and couples who bring foster children into their homes to raise as their own are just a few examples. I used to think it took a special kind of person to undertake such things. I’ve now come to understand that these people are responding to a special call from Almighty God. As the expression goes, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”
Back in 2001, shortly after the World Trade Center tragedy, my then nine-year-old daughter and I decided to visit local fire stations so that she could sing for the firemen on duty. God had gifted her with a beautiful voice, and I wanted to give her opportunities to share her talent with others. In all, she performed for four different stations. In all cases, the men on duty were very gracious, while being very impressed.
One evening, the station we were at had at least twenty firemen present. This was quite a bit more than the usual four to five on duty previously. There she stood with her microphone in hand attached to a small karaoke amplifier and sang her repertoire of Christmas songs and Broadway show tunes. The men stood amazed, obviously not having expected much. Afterwards, one fireman came up to me and told me how brave she was. “I could never do anything like she just did. She has real courage!”
Somewhat bluntly I responded, “Sir, you run into burning buildings to save people at your own risk! That is courage.” He couldn’t have disagreed with me more, and insisted that she was the courageous one. He made a point of letting her get behind the wheel of his fire truck, and apologizing for the fact that he couldn’t take her out for a ride as it was against the rules.
It was then I realized that God doesn’t intend for all of us to race into burning buildings, live overseas on the mission field, or give up a lucrative career for one that pays far less. What He does expect and require is that we respond to His call on our lives and be faithful in the pursuit of that calling.
Just as that fireman minimized the risks he experiences daily, my little girl wasn’t daunted by the audience staring at her as she sang. When we are carrying out those things that God calls us to do, we can count on the fact that He will be there right alongside of us. Does this mean the tasks or calling will be easy? No, most likely not. But that is why God calls His people to carry them out. He gives such responsibilities to those who truly are seeking first His Kingdom. In the end, courage isn’t the issue—faithfulness is.