Lord, Send Me
The prophet Isaiah represents everything that a true volunteer must be. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)
With a job that needs to be done, God asks for a volunteer – someone willing to put the effort into a task that would likely require great effort and personal sacrifice. In spite of the cost, Isaiah instantly offers himself as a worker for the Lord.
There are several lessons about this verse that are valuable for us to consider. First, Isaiah does not need to know what the task is before he accepts the mission. Sadly, many of us do. When asked to do a favor, we always reply, “That depends on what it is.” We want to know every detail, the lay of the land, the personal cost, and any benefits that might be involved in fulfilling some charge. It is a sad condition when even Christians need some kind of reward to complete a task for the church. When we do volunteer for something, how willing are we to sacrifice all for God? How willing are we to deny repayment? How far do we take ourselves in conviction and dedication to the completion of a task? When the Lord asks us to work, our response should always be with zeal and absolutely no regard for the personal cost.
Why does Isaiah volunteer so readily, though? His motivation is interesting, and it provides us with a glimpse of what goes through the mind of the truly humble follower of God. Before he is asked to do the task, Isaiah is faced with his own sin and is convinced that he is unworthy of the Lord’s favor. He says of himself in Isaiah 6:5, “‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’” He is comforted, though, by a seraphim who says, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is forgiven” (Isaiah 6:7).
It is after the assurance of forgiveness that Isaiah so quickly volunteers for the work at hand. What this shows is that when each of us truly comes to grips with our own sinfulness – and how undeserving we are of the mercy of God – any personal sacrifice that is asked of us becomes trite. “It is the readiness of true faith. Indeed, even before the prophet knows what God’s bidding is, he is willing to do that bidding. Here in this matchless passage we find the reason why so few are willing to serve God. They need above all the conviction of sin. Only when a man has been convicted of sin and has understood that the Redeemer has borne the guilt of his sin is he willing and ready to joyfully serve God, to go wherever God may call him” (The Book of Isaiah, Volume I, Young, 254).