In the 1800s, an owner of an icehouse lost his pocketwatch within the tons of sawdust, the material used to keep the ice frozen. The watch was very expensive. Pocketwatches were relied on by businessmen everywhere back then like we rely on our smartphones today. He sent his entire workforce to look for it among the sawdust. They spent hours and hours searching. They came up empty. A little boy nearby heard the commotion and asked the owner what was going on. "They can't find my watch." The boy asked, "Can I try?" The owner chuckled, but nodded. Once the crew went on a break, the boy looked. He found it in a matter of minutes. "How did you do that?" asked the shocked owner. "I laid down in the sawdust and didn't move, listening to all of the sounds. Once I heard the ticking, I just followed it until I found it." The problem was that the crew was busy and not listening.
When God speaks your name, He may speak to you in a gentle whisper. If we will learn to quiet ourselves, we can hear the authentic calling of The Master. When we wake up in the morning, we automatically begin listening to the voices telling us what we need to do for the day. There are typically multiple voices going on at the same time: pick up dry cleaning, check email, pay mortgage, go to kid's volleyball game, etc. Then, we flip on the radio on the way to work and listen to the talking heads. Then, we share our dreams with co-workers or family members...who suddenly become haters about your plans. The problem is that with all of the voices on around us, we have to ask "How do we hear the voices of our authentic calling?" We must be selective when we listen to the voices. God often chooses the least likely to get the reward or the honor. Be very careful about being judgemental.
How do you know when you are hearing the voice of The Master? You must stop talking, start listening, and stay quiet. Once you hear the calling of The Master, you must learn to follow the calling and never move back into the realm of the comfortable. Focus on His Voice and cast off the voices of the naysayers and the voices that try to keep us doing the mundane. You can't look forward and always turn around looking behind. As we move forward, we must let go of what's behind us. We can't forget our past, but we must let it go; we have to make room for our calling. There are way too many things and people that we may be holding on to that keep us from our calling and takes up unnecessary space.
You are the sum total of what you have been exposed to. In order to grow, we have to expose ourselves to something new. Begin by starting small and growing from there. When you go on a missions trip, you'll find that it will change you forever. When you read new books, you'll find that they will change you forever. When you embrace others' traditions, you'll find that they will change you forever.
Have courage to keep moving forward. Encouragement means to instill courage into someone. It takes courage to take steps to be different. Know this: (1) As you step out, drama will find you. (2) You can't feed your fears. (3) You can't feed the undead. In B movies, there are vampires that try and suck the life out of their victims. We have vampires in society as well: they dress slick, they are charming, and they wait for the right time to strike. But, there are also zombies: drainers, flesh-eaters, and life-suckers. They pounce on you at a moment's notice. Both are prevalent in our society. To counter these, you must learn to love everyone and be close to your inner circle, people who add to your life instead of take from your life. We need partners along the way to get us to our calling. John Maxwell said "One is too small a number to reach our destiny."
Once we get to our calling, we will find that we will have a testimony. Know that our testimony cannot come without a test.