Sometimes I think we make it more complicated than it is to fulfill God’s calling on our lives and live up to the responsibility he gives us. Perhaps it is because we see in the Bible and in ancient and modern Church history stories of how people did mighty and amazing things for God. Perhaps it is because of fear and insecurity. Whatever the reason, Ezekiel gives us a reason to think differently about it. God comes to Ezekiel while he is in exile in Babylon and calls him to preach to the other exiled Jewish people there. Part of his calling follows:
3 He said to me: Human one, I’m sending you to the Israelites, a traitorous and rebellious people. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. 4 I’m sending you to their hardheaded and hard-hearted descendants, and you will say to them: The Lord God proclaims. 5 Whether they listen or whether they refuse, since they are a household of rebels, they will know that a prophet has been among them.
That is a tough calling to live out and a lot of responsibility. These people are exiled because of unfaithfulness to the Lord. They have been captured, led away, lost everything they owned, no longer have a home–all because of their unfaithfulness–and Ezekiel is sent to them to preach to them. I would imagine there was some trepidation on Ezekiel’s part with this task the Lord has given him. If the people would not listen when they were in Judah and Jerusalem and had an opportunity to repent and avoid this punishment, why would they listen now?
But notice what the Lord says. It does not matter whether the people accept what you say or not. You will be faithful if you do what I say and speak to them. Their response is their responsibility. Your obeying me is your responsibility.
That really takes the burden away from Ezekiel. He is only responsible for himself and his faithfulness to God. This is as it is with all of us. We are only, ultimately, responsible for being faithful to the Lord in what he has called us to do. Obviously we want to fulfill that calling in the best way that we can so we fairly and accurately represent the Lord as his faithful ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:13-21), but other peoples’ responses to what God has called us to do is their responsibility, not ours.
God has called us all to love and to share the Good News with others. What their response is to that message is between them and God. We need to make sure we are being faithful to what God has called us to do.