Whom shall I send and who shall go for us? – Isaiah 6:8
Junior high volleyball was my activity of choice. Four practices weekly and weekend games kept me – and my parents – busy. The camaraderie garnered among the team members was a bonus.
We weren’t a winning team. Our record left much to be desired. But, we looked great! Our red and white uniformed tops, anchored by the long culottes allowed by the conservative Christian school policy, made us look successful. But, the truth is, we weren’t bringing home many trophies.
And this is why . . .
There was nothing more exhilarating than seeing that white leather “Wilson” branded ball fly over the weathered net and into our territory. We couldn’t wait to return the serve with a “bump-set-spike” routine that would cause the other team to reel at our power and organization. We’d ready ourselves in an impressive formation with our hands clasped and ready to break the ball’s descent to the ground. Several of us would zero in on it and circle the area like sharks around a school of tasty fish. With our eyes upward, we’d each call out, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” All three or four voices would ring out in enthusiastic unison assuring our other teammates, and those watching from the stands, that this ball would be taken care of.
Here it comes. It’s close now.
“I’VE GOT IT!”
We yelled it one more time with passion and purpose, so emphatically that we persuaded the other team members that we actually had it. So, one by one each of us abandoned our pursuit convinced that someone else was coming.
But nobody came.
The volleyball came crashing down to the floor while many very capable – and now humiliated – team members stood by watching.
“Whom shall go for us!” – A simple question with staggering implications. Yahweh asked it in the prophet Isaiah’s time and continues to ask it to this day. As He peers over the cusp of heaven’s horizon in search of who He can send and who he can use, there are many who appear to be prepared. They call out “I’ve got it” with a convincing gusto and eagerness. Their starch, crisp Christian uniforms complete with logo’d t-shirts, Bible study materials, bumper stickers and the latest Bible translations make them look ready for victory. Their church attendance is flawless and Christian conference calendar is impressive. Yet, far too often the ball of divine mission comes across the net into their territory and crashes to the floor unattended as they stand back waiting for someone else to take on the task.
God is still looking for someone who won’t drop the ball.
When divine purpose and opportunity comes into your life be careful not to assume that someone else, somewhere else, some time else will take care of it. The lost neighbor or co-worker, the hungry panhandler, the needy family, the discouraged teenager, the wayward straggler, the remote mission field . . . are waiting for you. YOU are the one they’ve been looking for.
Listen: YOU are the one you’ve been looking for – maybe even praying for. The solution you’ve been awaiting might be staring back at you in the mirror. When God allows you to see a need and then softens your heart to be tender towards it, it is most likely because He’s calling you to respond to it in some way.
Who’s the person, what’s the problem and where is the deficit that you might be suited to fill? Don’t just think about getting it, talk about getting it or circle in close proximity to it while making false promises you really don’t intend to keep. Yell, “I’ve got it!” and then . . . get it. Break away from the pack and be the one who steps into center court to put into practice all that you’ve seen, heard and read.
Let’s exclaim with the prophet Isaiah – Here I am! Send me! – and then leave our Christian paraphernalia behind for a more radical faith that stretches our set parameters, pushes passed our limits and reaches into the opaque darkness of our culture.
The harvest is plentiful.
The time for action is now.
Don’t drop the ball.