Whoever would have thought I would be convicted and challenged by a rooster?
Yesterday during our prayer time as a team, our pastor showed a video entitled, “The Parable of the Rooster.” The point of the video was that a rooster cries out and sings because that is what he was created to do. He was created to wake people up. He cries whether it is rainy or calm, whether he is well-sheltered or left out in the cold. He cries even though no one thanks him for his good work and even when others are annoyed with him. The conviction is so strong, that whether he is the only one or in good company, he cannot help but fulfill his purpose. There are many things we can learn about the rooster.
I have a calling to write, and the conviction is so strong to do that. I was created to use my gifts and talents for God’s glory. I asked myself the question yesterday, “Is my conviction to fulfill my purpose so strong that I must do it no matter what circumstances I find myself in, whether people are thanking me or not, whether I am alone or not, whether I am annoying people or not?” The phrase that stuck out to me so strongly was this: “The rooster was created to wake people up.” I realized that is exactly why I was created as well. I was created to wake people up to the purposes of God and to their purpose as His church. I was called to give God’s messages to His people and to inspire them to action.
I began reading Ezekiel this morning, and I was taken back by how powerful and direct his calling was from God. Ezekiel was called when he was 13 years old, and at this young age he witnessed angels worshiping in heaven and saw God Almighty sitting on his throne. Throughout the whole calling, Ezekiel was directed by the Spirit of God in every way, even to the point of whether he was sitting or standing. Ezekiel 2:7a says, “You must give them my messages whether they listen or not.” I realize that my calling to write does not depend on whether or not anyone is reading what I send or taking it to heart. My calling does not depend on the response. My calling depends on the Sender, and my focus must be entirely on Him.
Ezekiel 3:7-8 says, “But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. But look, I have made you as obstinate and heart-hearted as they are.” When I read this statement, a peace swept over me as I realized that my stubborn personality was given to me so that I would fulfill God’s purposes best. The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:3 that we have been given everything we need to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. Therefore, my challenge is to channel my personality well so that it will be an instrument to God and not an obstacle as it has so often been.
The most powerful thing to me about Ezekiel’s calling was said twice in very direct ways. Ezekiel 3:16-21 says:
“After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.
“If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live and you will have saved yourself too.'”
Wake up. The calling on our lives is not just “God’s best” for us as we often like to think about it. It is not an option. The calling on our lives is our responsibility before God. If He reveals to us a task that we must do or a gift that we must use, we are responsible for that message. If we do not fulfill that, there are eternal consequences for others and for us. If we do fulfill that responsibility, we have simply done our duty; we don’t get extra credit for that. What I read in this Scripture is that if I do not share the message that God has placed on my heart, and someone misses that particular message that they needed to hear, we are both condemned. If I do share, then I will be saved. The recipients are responsible for their own salvation by whether or not they decide to listen. That is POWERFUL. That makes me take my calling more seriously. It makes me take a serious look at all the stupid excuses I have used in the past to not follow through on a word that I have received from God.
It is important to note here that the Word of God is not a message of doom, but a message of hope. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the truth that we proclaim is a message of hope to the nations. What greater message could we proclaim than the one that says, “There is abundant and eternal life being offered to you! Take it!” The truth remains that if people reject this message of hope, they will be condemned, and that is a serious matter. God in His great mercy gave us the opportunity to choose or deny Him rather than making us mindless worshiping robots. Because of that, there is a great responsibility for those of us who are called to proclaim this message of reconciliation. If we want life for ourselves and for those to whom we are called, there is no option but to declare boldly the whole truth of Christ.
Lord, I pray for courage. I thank You for the example of Ezekiel who answered the call faithfully, even at the young age of 13. Would You give me the courage as well to boldly proclaim your message to those to whom I have been called? Challenge me. Awaken me. Send me.
And like the rooster, give me such a strong conviction of my purpose that I can’t help but cry out. Let me sing no matter where I am or what obstacles stand in the way. For I am called to faithfully declare Your words to the world.