When I was a young teenager I knew that there was much work to be done for Christ, and it seemed right and reasonable to volunteer to serve God in whatever way that He saw fit. Over the years I have noticed that the phrase “Here am I” was said by many people in the Bible in many different circumstances. The beautiful song “Here Am I, Lord, Send Me” is often reserved for annual mission conferences, but in reality, that should be our year-round and life-long prayer. Here are five times to say, “Here am I.”
1. When God Calls You to Reach a Person
In Acts 9, Saul, the infamous persecutor of Christians, was converted. The problem was that his name struck such terror into Christians that no one believed him and no one wanted to reach out to him. God spoke to a man named Ananias and sent him to Saul. In this case, it was not to win him to Christ, but to show him what he needed to do next; nevertheless, the principle still remains true. God sent one man to one man. When God sends you to reach a person, the correct response is exactly as Ananias said: “I am here, Lord.”
Perhaps you would say, “Well, what’s the big deal? If I don’t tell them about Christ, somebody else will.” But that is not necessarily the case. Each one of us has a circle of influence (people who our lives touch in some way) which is different from everybody else’s circle of influence. In fact, no two circles of influence are exactly the same. There are people that you can influence better than anyone else can. When God impresses our hearts to witness to individuals, may we say with Ananias, “I am here.”
2. When God Calls You to Reach a People
This is not the same as the last point. “A person” is one person; “a people” refers to a whole group, usually tied together by one or more commonalities such as race, language, or geographic location. In Isaiah 6, God looked for a man to deliver a message, not to just one person, but to an entire people. I propose to you that God is still seeking for messengers to give the Gospel to an entire people group. Even after nearly 2,000 years of missionary endeavors, there are nations, tribes, and people groups who have no one to share God’s message of salvation with them.
I believe that God is still calling men to the mission field, but God’s call to reach a people is certainly not limited to foreign lands. I thank God that He is calling men to go to cities within the U.S. and make it their life’s work to ensure that everyone in that city hears God’s message. I’ll take this even a step further and say that God may call a person to reach out to a subculture or a people group within their own city. Perhaps God would call you to reach an ethnic minority in your city. You may have to learn a new language to do that. Perhaps God would call you to start a new bus route to reach into some impoverished area of your city. Whatever the case may be, when God calls you to reach a people, I hope you will say like Isaiah, “Here am I.”
3. When God Calls You to Lead
The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years when God called a man to lead them out of bondage. That man was Moses. Moses argued and made excuses at first, but ultimately he did what God told him to do. He was given the job of leading a group of people who at times did not want to go where he was leading. He had to deal with hard heads, stubborn rebellion, feet-dragging, hissy fits, and non-stop grumbling and complaining. That sounds like some of the things many leaders have to deal with today. But regardless of the obstacles, leaders are needed.
Husbands are supposed to be leaders. If you have children, you are a leader whether you want to be or not. When God calls you to lead, I hope you will respond to Him like Moses and say, “Here am I.”
4. When God Calls You to Serve
Hannah promised God that if He would give her a son, she would give that son back to Him. She kept her promise, and when Samuel was still a small boy, she placed him under the care of Eli, the priest.
Samuel said, “Here am I,” four times in 1 Samuel 3. What a humble spirit this boy had! The first few times he said “Here am I,” he was confused about who was actually calling him. It’s interesting to note that although God was the one calling him, Samuel said, “Here am I” to a human authority figure. A person with a submissive and available heart towards God will always have a submissive and available heart to the authority in their life. How we submit to human authority reveals our heart towards God’s authority. When God calls you to serve, will you say, “Here am I”?
5. When God Calls You to Sacrifice
This one is last, because this one is the hardest. There have been times in my life when I was willing to reach a person, reach a people, lead, and even serve, just as long as it was easy. Abraham was called upon to sacrifice something—someone—that he loved. God asks all of us to sacrifice for Him.
Sometimes God asks us to give up some possession, some position, or some person. There are really only two responses in such a situation. We either tighten our grip on that which we possess, refusing to release it, or we simply let go. Abraham’s response revealed a heart totally surrendered to the Lord. No doubt he did not understand why God would ask such a thing, and yet his immediate response was one of obedience. What is God asking you to give up for Him? Is it time or money? Perhaps it is a relationship that is hindering your walk with God. Sometimes it is a loved one who must be “let go” in death. Whatever it is, you can rest assured that God is debtor to no man. He will always bless a sacrificial heart.
Not one of these five men knew what God was asking of them before they said “Here am I.” In fact, with the exception of Isaiah, all of them said those three submissive words to God after hearing their name only!
I wonder how many of us trust God enough that when we hear Him simply call our name we can say, “Here am I…whatever You need, You have it…whatever You want, I will do it.”