Pick Up the Phone: God’s Calling

May 29, 2022

Series: May 2022

Speaker: Nicholas Hanson


Today's Sermon


"Pick Up the Phone: God’s Calling"


John 17:20-26

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” 

“The world does not know you, but I know you…You have sent me,” Jesus prays. We all know that Jesus was specifically sent by God. Now is it possible for us as Christians to be, quote on quote, “sent” by God as well? Maybe, perhaps, “sent” is the wrong word. Maybe, we’re rather “called” by God. We are called by God to reflect our values as Christians. To make the world a better place. Maybe we’re all getting a hypothetical phone call by God, but a little less obvious than the familiar vibration in our pockets. And just like a phone call, it could be at any random time. 

     A couple months ago, I posted on Instagram a picture of me rowing along with the caption “God is with me.” A harmless statement, more for my good than the good of others. The next day, one of my teammates asked me in a mocking tone, “Is God really with you?” I simply responded, “yes,” politely and that was that. At this point, I asked this question of myself: how do my actions towards others reflect my values as a follower of God? In other words, how am I “called” to be a better steward of God? I could have easily treated this teammate differently and responded angrily. Really, that wouldn’t have helped anyone. Since then, I’ve emphasized my values to all of my teammates by supporting them and motivating them, even if those same people are different from me and my values. 

     We are often humbled by the story of the Good Samaritan. The person who went out of their way to help someone even though all others passed by. One of the most important parts of this story is that the Samaritans were enemies of the Jews. For one of your enemies to go out of their way just to help you because you are hurt is powerful. There’s something about going out of your way to help others that speaks to God’s calling of us to reflect Jesus’s teachings. And let’s not forget that the people who passed the hurt man were of his own tradition.

     A couple of weeks ago, I saw a video of a group of Ukrainians feeding a surrendered Russian soldier. They even let him call his mother to tell her, that he was safe. It might be hard for those who are helping the soldier. You’ve lived through this bloody war and possibly have experienced some loss in some way. And all of a sudden you see one of the people who is a part of this destruction, your enemy. He’s scared, tired, hungry, and probably hasn’t seen his family since the war started. And you help him. 

     A Good Samaritan. Or rather, a group of Samaritans, helping the person who may have inflicted pain on you. It must be hard to do that. It must be hard to look through all of the war and just see this soldier as a person. These Ukrainians should be an example that all of us should learn from and live by.

     In 2016 I was told the story of a man named Ako Abdulrahman who was living in Iraq and was worried about the ISIS militants in the area. He bought an armored car, a bulletproof BMW to protect himself. Sure enough, on October 21, 2016, ISIS snipers attacked his city and targeted civilians. Casualties were left stranded in the streets, pinned down by sniper fire and unable to be helped. Abdulrahman, couldn’t just stand by and watch. He drove his bulletproof car through the streets, picked up the wounded, and then drove them to safety. Abdulrahman made multiple trips, picking up people of all religions and ethnicities; Sunni, Shiite, Kurds, Turkmen, Christians; as bullets bounced off his car. In the end, he saved over 70 people from the attack. Abdulrahman said this: “I told myself, this is the right time to help people, this is the right moment to do it. I am a fighter and I have a bulletproof car, shame on me if I can’t help.” He felt it was his moral responsibility. 

     Why are we called in the moment? We’re too busy sometimes, or so we claim. We get consumed by money, jobs, that dream car, that dream house. We’re busy with sports, school work, phones, social media, and the news. It’s easy to get lost in distractions. Ask yourself this: if everyone in the world saw our differences, however small or large they might be, and only defined their actions based on these differences, where would we be? God calls us across boundaries. We might not see eye to eye on certain issues, but that doesn’t mean we can lack all decency. Shouldn’t our actions and words towards others dictate our faith and values?

     God calls us in the moment. Just like that random phone call in the middle of the day. God calls us in the moment to be better stewards of love. I invite you today when you leave this place to just pause. Just pause and observe. Look and see if you can make the world a better place for one person. God’s calling. 

Nicholas is finishing his sophomore year at Marin Academy and is currently a ruling Elder at Westminster.


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