An officer asks a group of soldiers, "Can I have a volunteer for a task?" The soldiers look at each other but there is no volunteer initially as they do not know how tedious the task will be. Then, a brave soldier raises his hand and shouts, "Sir, here am I! Send me!"
While the above-mentioned story is fictitious, we may be called upon to volunteer from time to time in our lives, whether it be in school or at work. What is our response? Do we shun from taking up additional tasks which do not add value to us? How should we respond to God’s calling for labourers to be sent into the harvest of saving souls (Matthew 9:37-38). Let's look at the example of Isaiah and draw applicable lessons for us today.
1) Be Ready to Accept God's Calling
In Isaiah 6:8, God spoke to Isaiah, "Who shall I send, and who will go for us?" God was directing the question to Isaiah whether he is prepared to accept His calling. Notice the response that Isaiah gave in the same verse: "Then said I, Here am I, send me." Isaiah did not say "Why not send this person who is more capable and eloquent?" He simply volunteered himself and was ready to be sent out for the mission.
How about us when we are called to follow Jesus? In Luke 9:59-62, two individuals did not immediately accept Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. Instead, they wanted to settle their worldly issues first before following Jesus. In verses 60 and 62, Jesus’ rebuke was that we should focus on spiritual work and not be distracted by worldly matters – otherwise we will be regarded as unqualified servants of God.
Luke 9:60: Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62: But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In contrast, Isaiah did not hesitate to follow God when called upon. We should follow after his example and make ourselves ready to accept God’s calling to be sent on a soul saving mission.
2) Be Willing to Go on a Soul Saving Mission
After Isaiah volunteered his services, God said in Isaiah 6:9, “Go, and tell this people”. Isaiah had been tasked by God to be His messenger to inform the people of the need to repent of their wrongdoings and be righteous before God.
We know that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). However, if no one goes forth to share the word of God, how then can the lost souls hear, believe and obey the plan of salvation (Romans 10:14-15)? Therefore, the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 was tasked by God and given to every Christian to likewise go and evangelise to the world.
Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We need to be more like Isaiah so that lost souls can hear the gospel and be saved. During the recent tracting session on 19 August 2023, I found out from bro Tony (who is a new convert having been baptised in September last year) that he would experience knee pain while climbing the stairs of the HDB blocks to distribute the tracts to each unit. But the knee pain did not stop him from attending because of his willingness to contribute and obey the Great Commission by our Lord. Bro Tony is an example that we can all play our part, whether big or small, to reach out to those who have not obeyed the plan of salvation.
3) Be Prepared to Face Rejection
Isaiah asked God how long he had to preach to the people though they were not willing to comprehend or accept the message (Isaiah 6:11). God answered that he should continue to preach until the cities were utterly destroyed. There is a similar lesson here with regard to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ today. Yes, the world may also reject the gospel message and refuse to take heed to the teachings of Jesus Christ. But we should remember that they are not rejecting us but are rejecting God instead (Luke 10:16).
Luke 10:16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.
Nevertheless, we should never stop evangelising. Though we will face rejection, there are those out there who are seeking the truth. Let’s continue to spread the good news until the destruction of the world, when Christ comes back again the second time (2 Peter 3:10).
We often sing this hymn “Lord, Send Me”. Reading from the 1st stanza of the hymn:
"There is much to do, there's work on every hand.
Hark! The cry for help comes ringing through the land.
Jesus calls for reapers; I must active be.
What will thou, O Master? Here am I, send me."
The work of saving souls never stops. Many are still lost in darkness. Have we done our part to reach out to them? When was the last time we invited them to our gospel meeting or evangelism Sunday? When was the last time we were present for tracting sessions to give out tracts to the community? We have been recipients before when someone shared the gospel message with us, and we ought to pass it on so that others can receive the spiritual blessings too. Let's all resolve to tell God confidently, "Here am I, send me" and reach out to our friends and loved ones who have not obeyed the plan of salvation. Though we will face multiple rejections, do not give up on the work of evangelism. There may be genuine truth seekers who are ready to accept the gospel and be saved from eternal punishment.