Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?And I said,Here am I. Send me!He said,Go and tell this people:Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.Isaiah 6:8-9
When Isaiah hears the call of God his heart is instantly responsive. By now he has believed what God said. He no longer feels undone and defiled. He believed that when God said he was forgiven he really was forgiven. No longer does he feel unworthy or unable to serve. He is eager to go,
Here am I, send me.
In seminary it was pointed out to me that, when many Christians hear the voice of God telling them to serve, they often say, in paraphrase of Isaiah,
Here am I! Send my sister! (This especially applies to missionary work!) Such an answer reveals that they never have truly felt forgiven. They have never sensed the wonder and privilege of being used of God, the marvel of a call to serve people in need, whether a need of food and shelter, a need for knowledge, truth or love, or a need for cleansing and forgiveness. But that is what Christians are called to do. I often think of the words of Peter Marshall,
Many Christians are like men dressed in diving suits designed for many fathoms deep, marching bravely forth to pull plugs from bathtubs. Much Christian activity seems to merit that description.
But Isaiah, responding to God's call, was sent immediately to meet the need of his people. God's word is,
Go. Something great has happened to you, so go!
Do not go if you have had no vision of the majesty and greatness of God, if you have never heard his voice speaking to your heart, if you have never cried,
Woe is me! I am undone. Unless you have felt God's cleansing and restoring grace, do not go. You will have nothing to say. You cannot help anyone by commiserating with them and sharing their misery. Instead, you must go knowing you have what they need to hear, which God will speak into their hearts just as he has spoken it into yours. If you have felt that, then you can say, as I hope you are saying,
Lord, here am I! Send me.
Father, grant me to feel the touch from your altar of the cleansing coal on my lips and in my heart, as you used it with Isaiah, that I should be like the prophet, fit, eager and available to go.
Every disciple of Jesus has a mandate to serve others in His name. Are we consenting to both the call and the prerequisite cleansing that equips us to serve with both dignity and humility?