Challenge Sunday 2011
Welcome to Challenge Sunday—the day where our elders share with you their hopes and plans for the coming year. I thought I’d start by sharing a story with you from a book by Gary Preston called Character Forged from Conflict:
Back when the telegraph was the fastest means of long-distance communication, there was a story, perhaps apocryphal, about a young man who applied for a job as a Morse code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, noisy office. In the background a telegraph clacked away. A sign on the receptionist's counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.
The young man completed his form and sat down with seven other waiting applicants. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. Why had this man been so bold? They muttered among themselves that they hadn't heard any summons yet. They took more than a little satisfaction in assuming the young man who went into the office would be reprimanded for his presumption and summarily disqualified for the job.
Within a few minutes the young man emerged from the inner office escorted by the interviewer, who announced to the other applicants, "Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has been filled by this young man."
The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and then one spoke up saying, "Wait a minute--I don't understand something. He was the last one to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That's not fair."
The employer responded, "I'm sorry, but all the time you've been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse code: `If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.' None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. So the job is his."
This year we’re going to invite you to listen for God’s voice in your own life, to make an effort throughout 2011 to hear and understand God above the noise of our lives. But you don’t have to wait for an invitation to do that. You can start right now even as you’re reading this. I pray that, this year, God will speak and that we will be able to hear.