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A Call to Serve

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Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” — Isaiah 6:8

The Torah portion for this week is Yitro, which means “Jethro,” from Exodus 18:1–20:23, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 6:1–13.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai to the children of Israel. According to Jewish tradition, the Israelites were neither the only people nor the first nation to whom God offered the Bible. He first asked other nations if they were interested in His book. However, after hearing what was in God’s Word, the other nations declined God’s offer. The children of Israel were not the first to be offered the Torah – they were just the first to accept it without any questions, preconditions, or stipulations.

In this week’s Haftorah, we read about the great prophet Isaiah and his induction into God’s service. During Isaiah’s first vision and encounter with the Lord, God said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” God had a mission to be completed on Earth and He needed someone to do it.

However, notice that in this encounter, God didn’t directly ask Isaiah to be that person. Rather, Isaiah overheard God saying this to the angels. Isaiah got the job not because he was asked to do it, but because he volunteered. Like the Israelites who accepted the Torah after other nations had declined it, Isaiah wasn’t the only person who could be God’s messenger; he was the one who accepted the call.

The fact that God didn’t direct His call specifically to Isaiah teaches us that God is sending this call out to us as well: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Who will be God’s agent on Earth, walking in obedience and fulfilling His will? Take a look at Isaiah’s answer. He responded, “Here I am. Send me!”

Will our answer be the same? Many people would say, “Yes! I’ll be a messenger of God . . . but what should I do? What is my mission?”

Let’s look again at Isaiah’s answer. He said, “Here I am.” In other words, Isaiah was saying, “I am in this particular position. I live in this specific place among these people during this point and time in history. I am here. I see a particular set of problems and challenges. My mission is to serve the Lord in the place that I am, with the things that I can do in my personal sphere of influence. I am willing to do what I can, Lord – send me!”

Now, take a look around you – where are you right now? What opportunities has God placed in your life to be His agent? If someone is lonely, be a comforting presence. If someone is hungry, feed them. If someone is in distress, be the rock they can lean on.

God sends out a call to serve every day. All we need to do is look around us and answer His call!

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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January 29, 2016
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