Hunters use a variety of different calls to attract animals and each one has a very unique quality of sound to it. The manufactures of duck calls do a huge amount of research and field testing before producing what might be a profitable product. According to my quick search online, there are at least 28 different species of ducks in North America , each with their own unique call. I have never blown a duck call before and I hear it take some practice to get it right. Why I am writing about duck calls? Read on to find out why.
The Book of Jude talks of a different kind of call, if you take a few minutes to read this short letter you will glean from it a sense of direction (calling) for living a life in Christ. Jude writes “To those who have been called, [those in the church who believed in God and had a personal relationship with him] who are loved in God the Father who are kept for Jesus Christ”. This brief yet powerful letter reminds the people of that time and us now what God has delivered us from. Through this reminder we are called to persevere (knowing that God is with us) through the difficulties of life. We are called to build each other up in the faith, called to pray in the name of the Holy Spirit, called to be show mercy to others and called to share the good news of Jesus Christ so that others might be saved. Much like the unique call that beckons a duck to follow a certain direction each one of us has a unique call from God on our lives.
Through His word, God speaks to us, calling us into his service. I have been called to lead in full time ministry using the gifts and abilities that God has given to me, you most likely have a different calling. As unique as we all are, when God calls us out of the “pond” he has a purpose that is common to all of us, to glorify Him. We are all called to bring honour and glory to His name through the lives that we live. As a called people, the living church of today, our role in His kingdom is to live in unity, to love one another and build each other up in the faith so that we exemplify Christ’s life. As Jude reminds us, there will be times of trouble in life, moments when our faith will be tested and stretched. The call to persevere comes through putting or hope and trust in the Lord. “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” (1:21)
“I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s Holy people”… Jude has compassion for the people, he wanted to rejoice with them about the salvation that they shared together, yet he wanted to be open and honest with them sharing stories from their past as reminders of how the Lord dealt with those who did not follow him. I think this also serves as a reminder of how God continues to provide for those who follow him faithfully.
I like the transition made from verse 16 to 17, after Jude finishes describing who we need to be on the watch for he begins to encourage us by telling us we need to be building ourselves up in our most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit. We must keep ourselves in God’s love as we wait on His return. When we walk with other Christians (this is who Jude is speaking to) we can surround each other with a love that helps build our faith and we can become accountable to each other.
I believe that we see a few important qualities of leadership in the life of Jude in these few short words that he writes. We have an openness and honesty that leads us to trust him as he speaks about the past and how he trusts that God will be with them. Jude seems very confident and optimistic in his words to the people, he gives us a call to preserve to carry on loving the Lord. Jude encourages us to have empathy for and show mercy to those who speaks against us; I see it as loving our enemies.
“Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh”.
Jude, also known as Judas, or Judah is who writes this short epistle that gives us a brief but pointed exposition on how we must contend for the faith. Jude communicates with his fellow believers the need to be “on our toes” watching for and dealing with the false teachers that infiltrate our churches. The first verse identifies for us who he his, “a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James”, not to be confused with the person of Judas Iscariot
Have you ever identified yourself as a servant of Christ? The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines a servant as a “Person totally responsible to and dependent upon another person.” How much of our lives are totally dependent on Christ? Are we fully submitting to the responsibility we have in doing the will of Christ? These are some big questions that ultimately define who we are.
It wasn’t until after the resurrection that Jude and his brother James became servants of Christ. For me it seems so easy to think that someone so closely connected to Jesus would not have been a believer. Although we don’t get a lot of background information on Jude we begin to understand his story just a little bit.
It is amazing to me how in a couple of verses of scripture we can discover a testimony of hope for the lost, even those who may be in our own families. Was it the ministry and life of his older brother James that became a seed for the life that Jude was to have in Christ? Was it Mary and Joseph’s persistence as parents that spurred on the spiritual growth in His life?
Whatever happened in the life of Jude his identity in Christ is what led him to write this epistle. It was through the death and resurrection of his (half) brother that had him traveling from place to place sharing the gospel. We need to be in the same place as Jude, as servants of Christ our identity needs to be in Him, our strength needs to come through Him.