Those words, are always guaranteed to put fear and trepidation into me! When someone says I want to talk to you, it is almost always serious, and in my case usually means I’m in trouble!
But those are the words God says to Ezekiel. Ezekiel is not in trouble, but God does have something important to say to him. God has something to say to Ezekiel’s contemporaries, and he is the man to take the message. God is perfectly well aware that they may not listen, but Ezekiel is to tell them anyway. God goes on to tell him not to be afraid – easier said than done – he goes in knowing that he is in a position of weakness. They won’t want to hear what he has to say, it’s not a popular message, but he has to take it to them.
Ezekiel was a lone voice. God chooses and uses the weak and vulnerable. We are reminded of this by Paul’s words. His infamous “thorn in the flesh”. Something troubled Paul that would not go away. It made life difficult for him, but he knew that in weakness, he was strong. He was reminded that “God’s grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak”. When we are powerful, we are in control (or we think we are anyway!), we think that our abilities are what save us and propel us through life. When we know our weaknesses, we know that we have to rely on someone else, and how enriched our life is for that. I’m told that one of the best services I ever led was whilst I had a bad kidney infection. That’s because I had nothing to give. I only had God to rely on, and that gave him the chance to do what he needed to do.
Perhaps that is what is behind Jesus’ command to his disciples. They are to take nothing with them – no food, no money, no bag, no change of clothes. They will have no resources of their own. They are to be dependent on God, and dependent on other people. Oh how we like to run our own lives, to be in control, to plan for the future! How much that kind of living means we miss out on the blessings of God, and the generosity of people. We are not called to be irresponsible, but to be vulnerable. Weak, not to crush us, but to let God’s strength hold us and work through us. In the famous words, “to let go, and let God”.
God wants to talk to us, and he wants to touch our lives. To give us what we need, not what we think we want. To equip us for his service, that we might go in his strength and his power – and not have to worry about our own.