I Was… (The Story of Amos)

I Was… (The Story of Amos)

by: Staci Stallings

In the Old Testament, there is the story of a prophet sent to warn the Israelites of God’s anger about what they were doing.  The prophet’s name was Amos, and his story is contained in the Biblical book by that name.  One part of this story struck me recently as I have been contemplating what it means to be a Prophet — someone intent on sowing God Seed.

First, read the passage in which Amos has been brought before Amaziah and is about to be cast out of the region for prophesying there.

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

–Amos 7:14-15

What I love about this passage is that God didn’t call the high priest or the people in the Temple.  Instead, he called a local businessman to proclaim His intentions.

I so remember a wonderful friend of mine shortly after I got immersed in God stuff.  Now we had been going to church since we were babies, but somehow we got taught that “God stuff” was for those who knew what they were reading.  It was “over our heads.”  To be fair, a lot of the God stuff was really under our feet and in our hearts–it was the way we lived and treated others.  But reading the Bible? Understanding the Bible?  That was for someone much more qualified than we were.

So she called one day when we were in our 20’s and she said, “What’re you doing?” To which I replied honestly, “Reading the Bible, and this part is fascinating.”  She got very quiet and literally said, “Oh, we’re not supposed to read the Bible like that. Don’t you think we need someone else to explain it?”

Thankfully I didn’t laugh out loud at her though I probably came very close, and in the ensuing many years, we have laughed together about that conversation many, many times.  Yet it still always kind of bothers me that we sometimes get the message that “God stuff”–understanding and wisdom–is for someone much more learned than we are.

That’s why I love this passage.  In effect, Amos is saying, “Look, dude.  This isn’t about me.  I didn’t pick this calling on my heart, God put it there. I’m just following what He told me to do.  I was a shepherd and a tree mender.  Trust me, this whole prophet thing is way outside of what I ever thought I would be doing too.  But God called me, and here I am.”

I feel like Amos a lot actually.  Who am I to be seeing insights in the Bible or in what others say?  Who am I to understand things that don’t have solid, concrete, real-world, everybody-can-see-it qualities?

I don’t know.  All I know is, like Amos, I was a simple housewife.  I was a high school teacher. I was just someone off the street, and then God called me and here I am.

If you’ve ever felt that way, know that you’re not alone!  God doesn’t call the qualified.  He qualifies the called, and just like Amos and me, you may well find yourself going, “Look, this isn’t about me. It’s about God.  He called me, and here I am.”

And in all honesty, it’s not such a bad place to be once you get used to saying, “I was…”

*~*

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings is a #1 Best Selling Christian Romance author and a co-founder of CrossReads.  Read the first chapter of every Staci Stallings’ novel at http://ebookromancestories.com

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Comments

  1. Staci,
    Thanks for the inspiration of this verse. I am teaching Amos this quarter and that chapter is coming up soon. Hope you don’t mind if I use your translation. My class members are a great bunch all in their mid 70’s to late 80’s and sometimes I need a new and interesting translation to wake them up! No doubt in my mind that God brought this to my attention!~

    On another note, I really enjoy your books. I love to read and only want to read good clean books! So thanks so very much to you and all the other writers who make the effort to write books that are interesting and wonderful reads, without bad language and situations.
    May God continue to bless you as you use His great gift in His service.
    Choyce Chunn

  2. Thanks for letting me know, Choyce (love that name by the way!). The Amos story came up in church awhile back, and I just couldn’t help but think how similar we were. I could just see me talking to the king and saying, “Look. I didn’t ask for this assignment, and the truth is, I’m really out of my depth here…”

    I hope your class enjoys the translation!

    Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! Have an inspired day!

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