I recently received a recall notice from the company that made the car I drive around. The notice tells me that there is something really wrong with a switch that is supposed to alert the drivers behind me when I step on the brakes. This switch turns on what are called the brake lights to let the person behind me know I am stopping. The recall notice tells me that in some of the cars like mine, this switch has not been working all the time. What happens then is the driver behind that car does not know it is stopping, and often strikes it from behind. This is not a good thing.
So the company issued a recall notice that said I need to bring my car into a repair facility to have the switch replaced. It is not that the switch can be repaired. It simply must be replaced. It is not doing the job it was made for and so must be totally replaced.
In the Bible, we find that God has looked upon humanity and has decided that our spiritual hearts are not functioning in the manner that he intended when he made us. God tells us that we have hearts of stone, and he needs to replace that heart with a heart made of flesh. As the prophet Ezekiel says in chapter 11, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,….” By that God is telling us that he has issued a recall notice for all of humanity. God looks on us and sees that we do not have a heart focused on a single person worthy of worship. Our hearts are all over the place, and when it comes to God, it is as if we are made of stone.
So a recall notice has and is going out to all of humanity. I received my car’s recall notice in the mail. It had started its journey to me from the same place that all the rest of the notices had gone out from, but it was presented to me by the last person in a long line of workers in the post office of the United States. Every one of those people was important in getting the notice to me, but without the efforts of the last person who carried the mail to me personally, all the work of the others would have been in vain.
God, in issuing his recall notice, started it out in the hands of the people who wrote the Bible for us. Since then it has been handed down from one person to the next to the next until finally it gets to each of us personally. That is what each person who knows Jesus is privileged to bring to the next one in line to hear it.
In the Bible there is a wonderful story about God coming to Moses to issue a recall notice. Moses, from his infancy, had been raised to be the leader of Israel, but when he was about 40, life took a bad turn for him and he ran from God and from his calling. For the next forty years, while God’s people suffered in slavery, Moses lived in obscurity in a faraway place, far from his calling. So God went to Moses in a burning bush and issued a recall notice that he could not escape.
God told him that his people were suffering, they were crying out for someone to set them free. They were longing for a deliverer. But the deliverer had forgotten his call; he needed a recall. Might we say that Moses’ heart had turned to stone in terms of his calling to lead Israel out of slavery? God comes and gives Moses a heart of flesh for his people. And Moses goes back in obedience to God and lives out his calling to set his people free.
God Continues to Call His Chosen Leaders to Set His People Free
I am convinced that God has not stopped issuing recall notices for many of us who have wandered far from him. A pastor in Zambia writes, “I am Pastor Matthew, called to serve the Lord Almighty. I was born again on the 7th May, 1999, in a miraculous way. I had just come from drinking and I had had a fight. My jeans were stained with blood. When I was chased from my uncle’s place, I found myself in a church which had all night prayers. From that day, all was changed in my life.” His heart of stone was changed to a heart of flesh. Now Matthew’s vision is to be the pastor a large church “where the power of God is operating. I am called to help many people who are enslaved in various problems to return to God…The vision of church planting never departs from my mind.”
Pastor Matthew got his recall notice and now he is focused on getting that notice out to as many people as he can. God, when he recalled Moses, said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land…”
At Christian Leaders Institute, we train men and women for the wonderfully frightening task of being people who carry the Lord’s recall notice to his suffering people. All over the earth, there are people who are being crushed by any number of difficult slave drivers. God hears their cry, he knows they need to be recalled so they too may have the heart of flesh which will, with his power, give them the strength to destroy every stronghold that is in rebellion to God. Who will carry the recall notices to them? Everyone in the long chain of people who have been entrusted with that notice are important. But it is the final person who is key in God’s great mission to set people free from the Evil One.
Who is God laying on your heart, even as you read this? Do you hear him issuing a recall notice and, do you know that he is calling you to be the last person in the line to get that notice to his suffering people? If you need training to be the best carrier of that notice you can be, we want to give you that training. In God’s great mission, we see our calling as the equipping of all of you who will carry the message for the last mile to God’s expectant people.