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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 14) - Knowing your calling # 2 - Your gifts

Sunday English Service - 11 FEB 18


Please turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 4, let me read to you verse 7 -- For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received? -- I've been teaching on work as you know, we first talked about how God designed man to work and designed work for man. And then we talked about how the sin and the fall came and ruined work in such a way that work became a toil. It was not a pleasure anymore, it was not something that brought great satisfaction and thrill and enjoyment anymore, it was becoming laborious, tedious, toil. But then Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, through Him the redemption from the sin and the fall. And now we're talking about how the redemption affects our work. If we are redeemed from the sin and the curse, and the effects of the fall, how does it affect our work today? And I told you last week, last few weeks I've been talking about calling and work and job and career and all of that. And last week I began to talk about how you can know your calling.

One of the things about knowing your calling is that everyone is not called in a spectacular manner. For example like the Apostle Paul was called on the road to Damascus, where Jesus himself appears and talks to him. And then sends Ananias, a man named Ananias to his house in Damascus to the place where he was staying. Giving him the address to go and see him, and to minister to him and so on. Very spectacular events, spectacular encounter with Jesus Christ and when you hear things like that, you would think that call is something that happens only in a spectacular manner, but it's not so. Paul was called like that but not Timothy, not Titus, not so many other people, Paul was an exceptional case. Similarly Moses, God spoke to him from a burning bush, the bush was not consumed but the bush was burning. A miraculous occurrence, spectacular, Moses approaches the bush to see what it is and God speaks to him through it and asks him to go and deliver the people of Israel. Tells him that He heard their cry and has come down to deliver them, and He wants him as His messenger. What a spectacular call, a specific call to do a specific work. A direct call given in a very spectacular manner, but not everybody is called like that. To think that calling happens only like that will lead you to a lot of trouble, you'll be expecting things like that.

I remember when I began in ministry one man came and asked me, he said, "Sam, have you fasted for 40 days?" I have fasted but not for 40 days you know and this guy made it look like if you want to enter into ministry, you have to fast 40 days, then only you have to enter ministry. So he was stunned that I said I didn't fast for 40 days before entering ministry. I said, "No, I've never fasted for 40 days," then he said, "Did you hear a voice from heaven calling you?" I said no, he said, "Did an angel come to you?" I said no, "Did you go down to hell and see hell, talk to the devil or something?" I said "no", "Did you go to heaven, talk to Jesus?" I said "no", "You mean to say you had none of these experiences?" I said, "No, I didn't have any of these experiences," and he made me feel like dirt you know, I was no good. And to think that I was called to ministry is nothing but 30 years later without any of those experiences still, you know I've been doing ministry. And I know even more surely than before, that I'm called to ministry, to the ministry that I'm doing today. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm called, but I had no spectacular experiences. I may have them in the near future, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised, I'm open to all these things, but I don't go searching for these things. But I don't think you should make it a requirement because the Bible does not make it a requirement. The Bible shows that only a few people are called like that for a specific job, in a spectacular manner. But most people are called equally supernatural, in an equally supernatural manner but not a spectacular manner. See things can be supernatural, yet not spectacular. Supernatural need not be spectacular, I hope you understand that. So when the call happens, I believe it is a supernatural call, it is something beyond natural but it may not be spectacular. It is not like some voice came from heaven or some dream came, you saw something in a vision, or some angels spoke to you, or you ascended to heaven. No, none of those things happen but still you are called in a supernatural manner by the spirit of God. Clearly led to do a particular job, to do it in a place of God's choosing and so on.

I believe that thing happens and I believe that, that way everyone is called, this is a call that happens to all of us. If everyone is called, that's Protestant teaching, right? To think that only ministers are called, preachers are called is a Catholic thought, it came with the Catholic Church. In the Protestant Church, they taught that every single person is called, we all are called by God, everyone has a calling. And if that is so all of us here are called and the Bible that does not teach that all of us will have a spectacular invitation to our call, but nevertheless we'll have a supernatural guidance and leading by God into the call of our life. So I want to share with you about that common way in which God leads us and shows us what the call of our life is all about.

Now I showed you last week that there are three things we need to consider in order to know your call. The first is the needs of the world around us, the world around us meaning our family, others that have to do things with us, and larger society. The needs of the world around us, we need to look at it and our perspective must be what is my role in this? What does God want me to do here? Why has God placed me here in this location, in this place, in this capacity with everything that He has given me? Why has God put me here? What am I supposed to do? What is my part in the whole program of God? That is the way you should think. Secondly, you need to think about the skills and the gifts that God has endowed you with. Every single one of us is endowed with some skill or gift that is specific to us, we are all different, we're all unique beings. And God has endowed us with some special nature, with a special kind of personality, with a special gifts, talents, abilities and so on. And these things become a guide to our calling, God can use these things to guide us to our destiny, to what He has for us. Then thirdly, our truest desires, the real desires that we have, not some fleeting desires that come and go, that just comesto us in a moment of some emotion or something like that. But truest desires, our desires that are in our heart that are very true, that are part of us, that stick with us. I'm going to talk about that a little later on.

But I want to deal with the second one today, the gifts and talents and abilities which God gives us. How we need to look at them and how we need to understand our calling through that. We're going to talk about the gifts and talents today, and maybe next week or in the coming weeks about desires and how God works through desires to show us our destiny. Don't worry about the first one, about looking at the world around us because in talking about these two the first one will come into picture anyway, with regard to even those two things that we'll talk about. So let's talk about our gifts and talents, that is why I read this passage to you, this verse to you. Where the Apostle Paul talking to a very divided congregation, the Corinthian Church, some of them are very proud, haughty because they're very gifted. They've been endowed with certain gifts, some of them can prophesy, some can do miracles, some can talk in tongues, some can interpret, some can do all kinds of things that they were gifted with. Lack of gift is not their problem, they had too much gifts and there was a competition in exercising and manifesting and exhibiting their gifts. So the church was divided because they were in competition with one another. And Paul is writing to them, sees the strife and division there and he says this, he says, "For who makes you differ from another?" Who has made you different from another person, who has made you unique in other words? Why are you the way you are? Who has made you unique? He says, "And what do you have that you did not receive?" Do you have anything that you did not receive from God? Everything that we have, we received from God, he says, there is nothing that you created. There is nothing that you have today that you came up with, that you invented or you created, you are not the maker, you are not the creator. You are just a person who has received some wonderful gifts from your maker, whatever you have today, whatever kind of gifts you have and enjoy today, is from God, He is the giver of those gifts. "Now if you did indeed receive it," that is if you received everything that you have from God, "Why do you boast as if you had not received it?" He's trying to fix their division and infighting, and he's trying to point out to them, hey look, your gifts and abilities and all of these things you owe it to God. God has given it to you, you never came up with any of these, you are not the inventor, creator of these things. Everything that you have you've received, so humble yourself, give thanks to God for whatever He's given to you and use it for God's glory. Cooperate with one another, love one another, live with one another and work to produce benefits for one another. That's what Paul is trying to say.

So this is talking about our gifts and abilities that come from God. When you take this and apply it to our work, you know work is a very key thing in our life. We spend half of our waking moments working. Out of the 16 hours that we are awake, we are at work at least 8 hours, a lot of us are at work more than 8 hours. So better part of our waking time is spent in what is called work in our professions, in doing what we're doing. So that is why this is very important, and you know when you meet people, as soon as you meet them, you may not have spoken to them for even 30 seconds, somehow this question comes up. What do you do? We're interested in what profession they belong to or what they do. So immediately the other person says I'm a teacher, lawyer, whatever you know. So immediately you lock in, you know you feel like you know the person only when you know what he's doing, what kind of work he does. The work seems to give him some identity, the work seems to declare who he is as far as we are concerned, that's the way we go about it. We look at the work and decide who he is. But, according to the Bible you need to look at who you are and then decide which work you'll do. Now we've gone completely in reverse, you should not go first with work and then decide who you are because of the kind of work you do. You need to look at who you are, what you've got from God, what kinds of gifts and abilities God has endowed you with. What God has made you as, who you are, and then be whatever you are supposed to be. That is the right way, that is the biblical way. So I'm just pointing out to you that we're doing it in reverse most of the time.

Now let me give you a couple of illustrations which I think will be beneficial to us. One is the illustration from the life of Yehudi Menuhin, you may have heard about him. He's a very famous violinist, one of the world's best violinists. When he was a young child, his parents took him in New York City to various concert halls for the concerts that happened. At the time there was an orchestra that often played in New York and they performed in New York, and there was man named Louis Persinger who played violin for them. One of the top violinists of the day. So this young boy, 3-year-old boy would go and sit with his parents at the concert, and when the orchestra played he'd be very interested. But when Louis Persinger took off on his solos, this fella will be literally thrilled beyond measure. So his fourth birthday was coming up and they were attending a concert once again, having Louis Persinger playing the violin. This young kid asked the parents, look my fourth birthday is coming I want a gift from you, I want a violin. So the family talked, and they decided they'll get him a violin. One of the family members brought him a violin. But because they thought he was just four years old, doesn't have the arm long enough and the fingers good enough to play a violin, actual violin, they brought him a toy violin made up of metal. The strings was metal, the whole violin was metal, it was just a toy to play for little kids. And when they gave it to him, the kid was so angry he threw it down, would not have anything to do with it, and cried the whole day because they had brought him this toy violin and not the real violin. He wanted the real one. Then they understood his feelings and got him the real violin, and by the time he was seven years old, he was ready to perform in public. And by the time when he was 12 years old he performed in Carnegie Hall which is one of the famous places where all these famous people, world's greatest musicians come and perform.

Now he says, he has written a book about his life, Unfinished Journey is the name of the book. And he says in that book reflecting on his experiences as a child. He says, he really wanted nothing less than the real thing, real violin because he says, I did know instinctively that to play was to be. In other words, let me put it even simply, to play the violin is me, that's me, I am made for playing violin. Even before the guy played the violin, he knew that that's what he's made for. There is something inside of him, reflecting back in his older years he says, I know now that as a young boy I knew that it was my thing to play the violin, violin playing is what I'm all about, that's me. So sure about what he's supposed to do, isn't that something? They says that as we grow up, even in our childhood days, all of us have moment or a day in which a window or a door-like thing opens to help us see ourselves in the future and what we will be. We all have a day or a moment where we experience our future, where we're able to see what we will be one day. Now think about that, that's a thought that's worth thinking about. All of us have that moment, they say one time or the other.

Another story, again about a musician named John Coltrane, they called him Trane you know. The jazz saxophonist, in the 50s he was addicted to drugs, used drugs and got overdosed one day and about to die, but somehow got rescued from it. And in the process, he came to know the Lord. And after that some of his best jazz music came, out of that experience. And one of his famous music that he produced was A Love Supreme in which he plays for 32 minutes straight. It is an outpouring of thanks to God for the blessing and it was a way that he offered himself spirit, soul, and body and wholly to God. 32 minutes of just pouring his heart out by the saxophone playing, by playing this music. And he performed it in so many places wherever he'd go, I think he would be asked to perform this. And one of those times, one particular rendition some place where he was doing it. He did so exceptionally well that he himself was stunned that he could do it so well, it came out so good that day. After he finished playing, they say that he put down the saxophone and stretched out his hands to God and said, [inaudible] in Latin language. In Latin that is the beginning words of the prayer of Simeon in the Bible, you remember Simeon? In Luke chapter 2, a man who lived in Jerusalem was waiting for the salvation of Israel, a spiritual man to whom God promised that until he sees the Messiah, he will not die. That promise was given to him, and when Jesus was born they bring Jesus as a child to the temple to do the things, the rituals that are required for a child in those days among the Jewish people. And he sees the child and picks up the child in his hands, remember that? He picks up the child in his hands, and he says these words. He says, "Lord, now you're letting your servant depart in peace according to your word." In other words, Lord you said that I will not depart, I will not die until I see the Messiah, I've seen, my eyes have seen. He says, "For my eyes have seen your salvation." So he says now I've seen, now let me depart. So [inaudible] those two words in latin meant, now let me depart, or now let me go. In other words, Coltrane was saying to God, Lord I feel like this is the moment for which I was born. All that I've done all these years, all the effort I put into this, everything that I've done in order to become this, I feel I cannot do it anymore perfectly than what I've done today. I've done the best job possible, I've poured my heart out to you, done the best possible. Now, if I die this very moment, my life is still worth it, that's what he meant. Now let me depart, that's what it meant.

Now just imagine if everybody looked at their work in that way, was thrilled about their work in that way that everybody had that perspective you know. Stories like this tell us one thing for sure, that God normally calls us to our destiny using our giftedness. Using our gifts as an indicator, God calls us to our destiny. But the purpose of our giftedness is not selfishness, for our selfish use so that we can just get something out of it. The purpose of our giftedness is stewardship and service and worship to God. That's the purpose of our gifts. Now some of these great musicians and some great professionals who were used by God and realized their destiny and lived out their lives in this way, fully knowing their call, realizing their call. They were some fantastic people, they realized that their gifts were from God, they must use it for the benefit of others. To glorify God, to worship God with it, and to do God's will on this earth. But the thing is, with the gifts there is also a danger. What danger is there with the gifts? With a gift the danger is that sometimes we begin to think that we are the creators of the gift, that we derived the gift from somewhere else other than God. Like some of us say you know, it's my grandfather he was great in this so I got it from him you know. I always say where did your grandfather get it? Maybe it was passed on to you through your grandfather but where did your grandfather get it? Grandfather didn't make himself, and he didn't make those gifts. Sure your grandfather was great, but he was great because God made him great, you see. So we end up thinking that these gifts are ours, we are the makers, we are the creators, look what I've done with myself, look what I've done with my gifts, abilities, and talents, look what I am because of my efforts. That's the kind of pride that people run into with gifts.

So Paul in this wonderful verse is calling the Corinthian Christians and say hey look, who made you different from the others? God made you different, God made you unique. You are a unique person, not because you made yourself unique, God made you that way. He's the maker, everything that you received is from God. See the verse, naked came I from the womb and naked do I go back, must be interpreted literally. In the Bible, some things must be interpreted literally, and some other things must be interpreted and understood figuratively. You cannot interpret everything literally, and you cannot interpret everything figuratively. For example, if your hand is a stumbling block to you, cut it off it says. Now don't do it, you know, thinking that it's saying that you cut off your hand if it's giving you problems, leading you to sin. You know it must not be taken literally, because if you cut off one hand, tomorrow it will the other hand. You'll be cutting off that hand then it will be your leg, you'll cut off that leg and the other leg the next day, pretty soon it may not be just a week or so before you lost everything. You won't have anything to cut off. So certain things should not be taken literally, as soon as you read the verse you know that it has some other meaning. It is not to be followed literally, it is a way of saying things. But there are some verses that must be taken literally, naked came I from my mother's womb, is literally true. Because when we are born, see Christians have taken it to mean, naked came I mean that I didn't come with a house, I didn't come with a job, I didn't come with an income, I didn't have this, that, I didn't have nothing. So now I don't have nothing, I live with nothing, and I go back with nothing. That is not what it is saying, it is saying when you were born, you were naked literally. That is why we all buy a piece of... you know some kind of dress for the child. And take it and give the child because we know that the child tomorrow may become something great, has all the abilities and talents, rich with all of those. But the thing is, he doesn't have clothes for right now, it doesn't mean the child has nothing.

When God sends us into the world, when God puts us here, He puts us here with gifts and abilities and talents that He has put within us for us to do a particular thing in a particular way, in a particular place and so on. So we need to realize that and we need to realize that it belongs to God and we are stewards. It is not for selfishness, it is so that we can be managers of this wonderful asset. The gift, the ability, the talent, and use it on behalf of God in this world. It belongs to Him, He has given it to us, He has entrusted us with that, so we need to use it for God and glorify God with it and worship God with it. Lead others to God through it, and do everything for the glory of God with it and for the benefit of others with it, and be a blessing to the world through it. That's the attitude that we need to have about it. And another thing that I want to really clear up today is this, and I think when I talk about this you'll really clear this doubt in your mind. A lot of people think a calling is something that happens just like that, and when it happens you know what you're called for. It's a one time thing, you just know and today something happens to you, and you know what you're called for. Some great, dramatic thing happens or some other thing happens and you know what you're called for. That is not how it happens. In the calling, there is some clarity that you understand that you are called by God to do this, but there is some mystery also in this. You need to understand that, there is some clarity as well as mystery. There is some things that you don't understand about it, and as you live your life trusting in God you begin to understand it.

The way it works is this, I said every person in this world has a moment in which a window or a door-like thing opens for them to see the future, to see what they ought to be or what they will be or what they're meant to be, right. Every person has that day or that moment in which they see their future. I think that is the first thing that happens in calling. In calling you have something like that happen and this may be called subjective calling, you understand the word subjective? Subjective is where nobody knows, you can't really say this happened to me therefore I know. You know in fact when it happened to Yehudi Menuhin he was a child, he couldn't even explain what it is. Looking back only he said, I feel that at that time I knew that this is my call. But at that time if you asked him he would not have even been able to express what he wanted to express. He would not even have been clear about it. Something that happens, inside of you it happens, you cannot clearly define it, you cannot clearly state it, but it happens. And you know it happened, something happens inside. Maybe you don't even realize at that moment, looking back you realize in reflection that it happened. So it's a subjective calling, something that happens inside of you that you know. Even Paul looking back only he says, from my mother's womb God has separated me unto the gospel, he says. If he had known that earlier when he was a child, he would not have done the things that he had done. Persecuting the church, killing the preachers, shutting down the churches, arresting Christians preachers and teachers. He would not have done that, he didn't know that you see. He lived for many years as an educated man, a religious man, not knowing what his call was, doing exactly the activities that are exactly opposed to his call because he didn't know what he was called for. Then after he understood his call, after he started preaching Christ, then he reflects on his life. Looks at his life from the time that he is able to think about it. From his childhood days and he comments in Galatians chapter 1, he says, God has chosen me, separated me unto the gospel from my mother's womb he says. In the mother's womb he didn't understand anything, even when he was grown up he didn't understand it. But later on he understands, he says, yeah at that time I know now that at that time I was chosen by God. Because he sees that so many things happened that God must have started working with him and shaping him and forming him for a future life, from the time he was in the mother's womb. So he says from the mother's womb God has separated me unto the gospel. But when did the thing get into his heart that he may be called to Christ first? To believe in Christ, to follow Christ and to do his will and pursue the destiny that God has for him. When did he get an impression? When something like that began to dawn upon on him, his heart?

I believe when they killed Stephen, he was probably the organizer of the whole event. And he was there, he saw the way Stephen died as a martyr of the church. He heard the words that Stephen spoke, he heard the message fully packed with the Old Testament, the story of the people of Israel. Read the story of... in the seventh chapter of Stephen's sermon. Paul must have been very interested because this guy is taking a passage and Paul is a very well-educated man in the Old Testament. Highly educated, well trained, and here is Stephen anointed by the Holy Spirit, takes up the Old Testament and preaches the gospel to Paul and others there that are gathered. And Paul hears it. I think something must have started happening in his heart, he must have heard the call of God. Something started affecting him inside. I believe that after that he never had one peaceful night sleep, he was affected by the whole thing that happened with the killing of Stephen. And then on the road to Damascus he was met by Jesus. So something begins inside, and that thing starts the whole process because God takes one step at a time. In your experience you would have felt moments when you felt the call of God in a particular direction, maybe it was not clear but you knew this is the thing that you're called for.

I remember in my life it happened that way also. That I felt I had moments in which I had a special revelation about the call of God upon my life. Nothing spectacular happened once again, but through the things that took place I was able to see that God was in my life. I could feel inside, instinctively I knew that I was called into ministry as I was growing up as a little child. Instinctively there are some things that happened that let me know that I am called to do this work. Actually, I didn't think it was a good idea really, but I knew that this is what I was called to. My favourite verse was James 3:2 -- knowing that you will receive greater condemnation, let not many of you become teachers or preachers.--So to all the preachers I'll give this verse, 'cause they were all interested to see whether I'm going to become a preacher because my father was a preacher. I said, no, anything but a preacher. That's what I said, but inside I knew that this is the thing that God has called me to. There is an instinctive knowing, inner knowing that this is what God has called me to do, right. That's the first thing that happens, that's what happened to Menuhin, that's what happens to so many people, that's what happens to every single person. Instinctively something happens but the problem is sometimes we ignore it, only later on in life we look back and think, oh yeah, I felt it, I knew it you know.

So instinctive knowing is the first thing, that is called subjective calling. And then the second thing that happens is that God opens up opportunities and leads you what may be called as divine providence. Opens doors for you, makes things happen in your life, opportunities come your way, even from the birth I would say. Even the way you're born, in a particular family, at a particular time, in a particular situation. Esther was told that she was born for such a time as that. Esther was helpful in the deliverance of the Israeli people, and she was told that she was born for that purpose. To bring about the deliverance, to save that race from extinction. God had made her born for such a time, for such a purpose as that. Is it possible that God has made each and every one of us born at such a time as this? In such a place as the place where we are born, for a certain purpose? It looks like that's the way it is, born for a purpose, born for such a time. The timing, the purpose, everything is synchronized perfectly with God's infinite wisdom.

So God produces opportunities, works circumstances, brings together things. Take the story of Moses for example, God was planning the deliverance of the people of Israel. Now he must produce a deliverer, now Israeli people are probably thinking God has forgotten us, we are deep in slavery, God doesn't even care about us, we are suffering here. Where is God? But God is working out things, he's making things happen. Moses, the child was born. And he was born at a very difficult time, male children were ordered to be killed. But this child was hid, by the grace of God, this child escaped death. And by the grace of God and by the foreknowledge and foreordination of God, God's planning, God's purposes, this child was picked up by Pharaoh's daughter and taken to Pharaoh's palace to be raised as a grandson of Pharaoh. And more than that the child's own mother was taken as a maid to take care of the child. Now you see God's perfect work, so Moses is being raised there, why is he raised there? God didn't want him to be raised as a slave, because a slave will have only a slave mentality. They had been slaves for so many generations and you cannot expect a slave to go before Pharaoh and say, "Let my people go." A slave will go and stand like this before Pharaoh, he cannot talk freely. But Moses grew up as a grandson of Pharaoh, was able to sit with Pharaoh and eat there. Got educated there, raised in those surroundings, not afraid of the palace and the officials and the kingdom and all that goes with it. Not afraid or impressed by all the pomp and everything that went on there in the palace. He was right there, he was the king's grandchild. Have you ever seen how a grandchild treats the grandfather? These little kids, they're very respectful to the mother and father. With the grandfather, they're not afraid, they say, "Grandpa, come here, do this, go there, sit down," you know. You've got to do everything that they say, I'm sure some of you are experiencing that. And you tell them, "Look, your father himself is afraid of me you're talking to," he doesn't know any of those things, he is not fearful at all because he's a grandchild. And you feel like you are a grandfather you have no right to correct him, you know. You just have the right to love him, so they take advantage of that. And they're very free with their grandparents. And just imagine how Moses was raised in that palace, in that surrounding, able to freely talk to Pharaoh, freely move out, freely do things. God wanted him raised like that, God is a perfect orchestrator of all these things. And then brings about the deliverance of the people of Israel through him, amazing.

Now I can understand Paul's words when he said, from my mother's womb God separated me to the gospel. I believe that God marks us for something even when we are in the mother's womb. And separates us for something, watches over us and brings us to the destiny. And when we become knowledgeable of that, and when we begin to follow and exercise our faith and follow him in that direction, I'll tell you that is what a life of success is all about. And that is where you reach and you arrive at your destiny. So the working together of circumstances, putting together of various things, opportunities and things in your life, organizing these things to take you to where you need to go, you see.

When I was a young man, I started singing and playing a little music and so on. And that was a big thing in those days, not many people did in the Christian circles. So there was a preacher, an evangelist who was also a teacher in school, he was becoming well known. And he wanted to travel through the summer when there was a holiday, summer holiday, and preach in Kerala andTamilnadu, all over Tamilnadu. So he came to me and said, you come with me you'll sing and I'll preach, how about that? Why don't you travel with me, he said. I was only about 16 years old, so I picked up my accordion and went with him. I really liked the guy so I went with him, he's a very enthusiastic, good preacher. We traveled starting from Trichur we went all over Kerala - many conventions, many places. And then went all over Kanyakumari and all over Tamilnadu everywhere, and stayed in all kinds of places, we stayed in a chathiram, I remember for Rs.1/- a day. Common place to sleep, there was a big tank of water, you had to take common bath. It's like 2,000 years ago, you know. He took me to some villages where we'll get off from the bus and you had to walk, I had put my accordion on my head and walked with him a couple of kilometres inside through the paddy fields, you know. And then went in there and there's just a few huts, and we'll stand there under the tree and sing and demons will be chased and you know things will happen. When they hear me singing all the demons come out you know, really. In those villages I had some wonderful experiences, even with my father when I went to the villages. I saw the village people, it was a time when I thought my God, thank God I was not born in one of these places you know. I'd be totally lost, what would I be? What a privileged person that I am, that I was born in a family like this, in a situation like this. So blessed to have all these things that I have and these people they have not even seen these things, and cannot even imagine to be like that. My heart was touched to see people like that and wanted to do something for them. And I had some wonderful experiences, God gave me some opportunities so that I may taste and see what I was going to do. I was not preaching, I would just sing, I would just get up and sing, and the man will preach. And people will get saved, and get baptized and so on, and we went to places you know and had a wonderful time. It was a wonderful experience.

Then with my father I went to a place called Aathur I remember. You know he would never organize anything big you know, he'll just go, he went to eat somewhere and saw a kalyanamandapam and he talked to the guy and rented it for five days. So then immediately we went to the printing press close by, had hand bills printed and we ourselves went and distributed the handbills all over Aathur town and started having the meeting there for five days, just instantly organized. And again I was playing the accordion, alone by myself and singing a song. There was a guy walking down the road, 16 years old, walking down the road he was going to kill himself. He was frustrated with the whole of life, he left his family, walking down the road to go die somewhere. And he heard me singing and walked into the kalyanamandapam and sat there, and everyday he came to the meeting. Morning and evening he'll come and attend the meeting, on the last day we had baptism, he came and took baptism then we got on the car to go back to Madras and he was standing right there. We said bye, he said sir I want to come with you, don't leave me, take me also. So my father said get in, with my father there's always one more place in the car. I remember one time we had seven people in anAmbassador car, he said one more can come, come on you know. You never packed so many people in a car, you know. So he said come on in and he got in and we brought him here and kept him with us, and raised him up. He went to our Bible college, today he has the largest church in Aathur in that same place where he came from. He became a pastor long time ago, you know. All those things really spoke to me, it said my God you know, what can we do in this world? Something real, we can do something very fruitful, very beneficial to people and we can be useful to God. This is something real you know. Opportunities God provides to interest you, to bring you into this and opens doors so that you may do things.

Still I wouldn't say that you know 100% that you are called to do this. You know you feel it inside, you know you see the opportunities, but you still don't feel that you're really called and you don't feel like 100% you know. You can't say I know this is what I was called for, no I didn't know that. But I knew that this is what I'll be probably doing, you know. Then I told you about how I got interested in music in the early days, when someone sang I heard and I wanted to sing like that and so on. And so I started singing, then I developed into a gospel singer with this evangelist and opportunities were opened in an unbelievable way to experience something, get a foretaste of what I could do, alright. So first is instinctive knowing, second is opportunities and divine providence, working in your life, taking you places.

I remember when I was in college somebody from America came and we had a meeting in our church, and after the meeting and my father, myself, those days I just drove the car for my father. So we went to eat and I was the driver, so I went there. And I was busy eating, I was not interested in these people talking, both of them were talking and I was eating. And all of a sudden that man looked at me and he said, "Sam, would you like to go to a Bible college?" And I just didn't know what to say so I didn't expect that question, so I just shook my head. And he never said anything, he kept quiet and I kept eating, and he kept talking to my father. He never spoke about this, but when he went back, he called up a guy who was a president of a Bible college and told him about me to take me. And that guy wrote to me and said you write, you feel out this application and send it, we're going to take you as a student here. That's how I ended up going there. And after I went there and studied there one year, I told you the story about how I became a preacher. I ended up in a lady's prayer meeting, 1,500 miles away from my college you know. Sitting there in that house, I didn't know what was going to happen but before I went to that house something remarkable happened. I stayed in a old lady's house, my friend's grandmother, she is about 80 years old. She had 85 acres of land, all cows outside, nothing to do you know, it's a village. So we sat and watched the TV with grandma all day, how many days can you watch...it's about three months you've got to spend there. So I got bored and started looking at this guy's room and all the books that he had and so on, because he had put all his books there when he went to the army.

So there I found some tapes on the book of Romans, the spool tapes in those days, and a spool tape recorder. So because it was boring I took it and put it and started playing it to see what it's all about. And I have never heard a preaching like that in my whole life, the man was doing verse by verse preaching of Romans, which I have done here for seven and a half years. I never heard it like that, it was so inspiring. In the first chapter he was preaching about the gospel, the gospel of God he was preaching about. And I started hearing everyday, I'll come out only to eat. All day I'll hear it, only to eat I'll come out then go back in and get so engrossed in that. Because I'd never heard preaching like that in my life, and that time something happened in my heart. Something in my heart just like when I heard music the first time. The first time something happened in my heart which said you must preach like that, that is the way you must take the word of God and preach it to people. This is what you must do. And until that time, I was one year...it was after one year of Bible college and you can be the most confused after one year, you know. One year students are very dangerous. I was so confused I didn't know whether I should do this or not, whether I'm fit for ministry. Who knows what, you know, what's going to happen? And on that day when I heard so many sermons, and come to 16th verse where it says, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For it is a power of Godunto salvation to all those that believed. He talked about why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, and I tell you on that day I felt like this gospel was worth taking everywhere. Everywhere in the world and preaching it from the rooftop, and I must do it all my life till the last breath, I must preach the gospel. That day, that is the day I knew for sure that I must do it. If I'm called to do it, then it will be a great privilege to do it, I thought. It made a big difference, on that day only I ended up in a lady's meeting by some circumstances.

And there I was sitting, I met that lady of the house and the lady said, you preach. There was an American guy with me, she said you preach, I don't know. Maybe I looked different, that's why she...said you preach, and I didn't know what to preach. And when the time came to preach, I just really I've never preached in my life even once, just sang songs you know. I got up and I opened my Bible, and because I've been hearing Romans 1:16 three times, my Bible opened automatically to Romans 1 and I preached from it. Whatever that preached in 50 minutes to 1 hours, I preached for 10 minutes. That's all they wanted you know. During the time another guy walked in, he was about to let his wife into the house. You know you're supposed to get out of the car, let your wife in there you know, you can't just drop her and go you know. So the guy was opening the door for his wife and saw me preaching, he said, what is this man doing. And he came in there and he sat through the sermon, he thought I was a preacher and then he came to me and he's a very influential man in that area. He came to me and said, "Sam, would you give me your number? I would like to invite you to preach somewhere, would you do that? Would you come and preach for me?" I again shook my head, every time I shook my head something happened you know. And I gave grandma's number and he booked me in 40 places to preach, all this Methodist, Baptist all kinds of churches. When he called them up, I mean I felt like running you know. Because he'd tell them, "You need to hear this guy, this is so wonderful I'm telling you." I said, my God man just watch out. But anyway he fixed me in 40 different places and I preached in all those places, that man was called just to make me a preacher. I never had to go and ask anybody to give me an opportunity to preach, this man will fix it. He will call everybody, he will book the place, he'll put the petrol in the car, he will draw the map, he will send me there to preach, that's how it was arranged. God I believe is a wonderful orchestrator of our circumstances.

Now when you look at that I think you'll get an idea that God is call you for something. When I came back from that summer, my financial needs were met and I had become a preacher all of a sudden. And one summer I preached in 40 places, usually Bible college students when they finish graduation, they'll have to wait three, four years to finish speaking in 40 places you know,to get an opportunity to preach is very rare. I got 40 places and he said every time you have holidays, you come back and I'll book you everywhere you know. So every holiday I was fully booked to preach everywhere, and here I was going very strong as a preacher already. I felt yeah, God is good to me because he's calling me to preach, yeah that's right. God is guiding me, God is helping me, because I can't help myself, I don't know how to help myself. So that is the next thing, the opportunities and divine providence, right.

So instinctive calling, instinctive knowing, then opportunities in life, then thirdly skills and gifts. I found that the more I preached, the more I was able to preach, the fear went out of me and I was able to fruitfully share the gospel with others. And people were blessed and people were changed and things began to happen, and people wanted me to come back and preach for them and so on. At a very young age all these things happened. So God gave the skill which I did not have, the abilities that I did not have. God puts the skills and the abilities and helped me to go ahead and develop it as the days went by. To be interested in reading and studying and knowing and doing the things rightly. And then, even then you see, you know now that you're called, but even then there is a fourth stage I believe. And that is the objective calling. That is not only you know that you're called for ministry, everyone around you will say that you are called for whatever you're doing. That's how the results manifest itself. The results of your work begins to manifest itself, the fruitfulness and the effectiveness of your work, manifests itself in that way. So that everybody around you will tell you that you are called to do what you're doing. And then you know for sure you are called.

I said this not to just tell my story, no I've told this story before, but why did I tell this? I tell this because a lot of people think knowing the calling is just a one time thing, I can know it today. Some people just go to somebody and say just pray brother and then tell me what my calling is, you know. So that they can just go and do it. It does not happen like that, I just wanted to tell you that, it does not happen like that. Christian life is a life of faith, you begin to take one step at a time and another step and another step and each step God, you trust in God. You go by what you know and go by you see and what God shows you. And as you keep moving, you get more and more and more assurance then finally after a period of time you know for sure. Now if you ask me, do you know you're called for preaching? I won't have to stop and think you know, if you asked me 40 years ago, do you know? Are you sure that you're called for preaching? I'll say, I think so, you know. But if you asked me, are you sure you're called to preach and do what you're doing? I would give a resounding yes as answer, because now I know. So calling is something that happens, you can't just look for spectacular things to happen. It may happen, but it's wrong to just go searching for all these things, you'll get messed up. And it is not right to think that it all happens in one day that somebody gives you the assurance that you know what you're called to. Some cases it may happen but I'm talking about generally and mostly, the way it happens is God takes you and one of the main things that God uses is the gifts and abilities that God gives you in your life. They become the indicator of your future, of your life and of your destiny. Amen.

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