Those who followed Jesus did so voluntarily. God never intimidated anyone to follow him. He wants us to do it voluntarily. It must be what we want. Years ago I saw people pulled to the altar. They never came back. The Spirit of the Lord convicts and draws; no one is beaten to the altar. He calls and we must say yes voluntarily.
Isaiah was a prophet who put out the word of the Lord to a backslidden Israel. Then he realized that before he could say woes unto the people he had to say “woe is me.” He saw his shortcomings before God.
Isaiah 6: 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. 11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate.
Volunteers are a special breed of people. I’m thankful so many are willing to do it. Many community rescue squads and fire departments are staffed by volunteers. They put themselves in harm’s way to help others. Being a volunteer takes self-sacrifice. It takes time and effort, the same as for someone who is compensated. Volunteers selflessly give themselves because they have a desire to help someone other than themselves.
Today many are self-centered saying this is my life. Isaiah volunteered. He didn’t just say it off the top of his head. It’s easy to volunteer for easy things, but there are responsibilities for the child of God. In order to be faithful to God we must deny self and take up the cross and follow him. It’s easy to say I’ll follow God but proving it out can be tough. Isaiah thought it out and he was ready to volunteer. We must be willing to put ourselves last and let God be first. We see persecution now but it’s nothing to what will come.
Everyone has to get saved individually. We’re responsible for our own Christian life and the souls we encounter. Don’t say “I have to be a witness.” God doesn’t want that kind of attitude. Isaiah said “here am I; send me.” Before he said that he first had to see his own shortcomings. He took inventory and admitted he came up short. People watch us. Paul said we’re living epistles, the Bible people read. People need someone to witness and tell the truth. God needed someone to step up and inform Israel of its sin. This world may not want us but they need our testimony. God’s name may be a curse word but people still need the truth. A real, genuine witness is needed.
Isaiah volunteered but only did it after he said “woe is me.” He saw the reality of God and heaven. When we do that we’ll realize who we belong to. Immediately Isaiah saw how wicked he was. In the first five chapters he was pronouncing woes on the people. In chapter six he saw his own shortcomings and let God straighten him out. See God in his holiness and like Isaiah did realize “woe is me.” That’s when we’ll say “send me.” Then we can accomplish what God expects in places like Romans 12:1-2. The only way Isaiah could fulfil what God wanted was for him to look inside and come clean with God.
Colossians 3:1 states if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Volunteers set themselves to the Lord. They see themselves as they really are. They seek the Lord and help others seek him. In verse 5 Isaiah said Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. He hadn’t separated himself like he should. It took seeing God high and lifted up. To help others we must be clean ourselves.
The Lord asked whom shall I send, and who will go for us? There was no one else there besides Isaiah. Have you ever felt like the preacher singled you out? It’s not the preacher; it’s the Lord. Isaiah volunteered saying here am I; send me. He didn’t say get someone else. He didn’t say I will but. When the Lord says I need….we say here I am…but… Let someone else do it. For generations Christians have put God on the backburner and have gotten lukewarm in spirit. If you’ve been guilty of saying I would but, get the but’s out.
Isaiah asked how long he’d preach this same message. He was told until the entire country was desolate. He had one message. We have one message and the world needs it. We have one Bible and the world needs it. Taking a stand is hard, but God will be with us. He holds our hand; that’s all we need. How long will we do it? Be a witness until our last day. Be a Christian until the end. Be a bright, shining light till then. Be God’s people until we go home.
Let’s do it. Be a volunteer. Step up to the plate and say “here am I; send me.” Let’s volunteer afresh.