Sermon Illustration: Volunteer or Called?
Depending on who you read, Tennessee became known as the Volunteer State for one of two reasons. (Or, I guess both could be true?)
Some say the title “Volunteers” came as a result of the War of 1812 when so many men from Tennessee volunteered to fight in order to interfere with England’s plan to destroy America – particularly at the Battle of New Orleans.
Others say it was a result of a war with Mexico that occurred almost a half century later. According to historians, President Polk was forced to call for states to raise up 2,600 men to bulk up the American Army in Mexico. The plea went out from Nashville, Tennessee. Within one week’s time, 30,000 Tennesseans responded to the call of arms.
And, just in cases you’re wondering, it was another half century, when the University of Tennessee beat Georgia Tech, that the Atlanta Constitution first labeled the University “The Volunteers.”
I love stories like this. Stepping up to fight for your state and your country. Volunteering to give your life for a cause greater than you are.
We live in the Volunteer state and I love it.
But I’m tired of that word being used for people in the church. It’s one thing to volunteer to fight for your state or country. It’s another to say you volunteer at your local church.
What if we got away from that language at church and instead, used the word “called” or “calling”?
What if, instead of asking, “What do you volunteer to do here?” We asked, “What has God called you to do here?”
We can even back it up from there.
When was the last time you heard clearly from the Lord?
When was the last time you were moved by God to act on a calling He placed on your life?
Maybe you are. Maybe you are living out a calling. Maybe you are doing what God told you to do. Maybe you are wondering. Maybe you never thought about it before. Maybe you’re wondering how do you know what God has called you to do?
If we rephrased things from “volunteer” to “called”, what would you do?
Do you consider your role here a calling from your Commanding Officer Jesus Christ?