Equipping the Called


Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”          ~ Confucius

I think we can all agree that preparing to do anything is time well spent. That’s true of any task. But I have found that if the situation involves a work of mercy, sometimes you don’t get the prep time.

When I started at the local homeless shelter, I chose to work the dinner shift. I like to be busy. We’d start by heating the food, and setting up the tables for dinner. Then we would all serve the food, clean up after mealtime and set up the mattresses for sleeping.

We all fell into an easy camaraderie. Sometimes there’d be time to grab plates of food and sit down with the guests. I would have wonderful talks with some, and listen to confusing, rambling talk from others. But it was all so fulfilling.

After working that shift for a few years, I got a call the day before our scheduled night. They were having trouble finding a female to work the 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. time slot. It was policy to have male and female volunteers because we took in men and women at the site.

I was really surprised. I wouldn’t be able to meet anyone first, and I didn’t know what the duties were. That didn’t seem to bother the voice on the other end of the phone.

How do I while away four hours in the middle of the night? How do I stay awake?

I didn’t have much time to decide. In the end, I agreed to the new assignment.

The next day I was one nervous lady. I looked for crossword puzzles to work on, and grabbed the book I had started reading. I also had a cross-stitch project I hadn’t touched in two years. Well, why not. All I’ll have is time. I had enough in my bag to keep me busy for a Trans-Atlantic flight.

As I walked into the building, an eerie quiet met me. Hushed tones, guest counts and a procedure manual met me. Quiet replaced the usual pots and pans rattling and cheery greetings of the earlier shift. Peering into the darkened gym, I saw the outline of mattresses, arranged in rows. The soft sounds of sleep and dreams wafted in the air.

One of the volunteers stage-whispered to me, “Hey Ceil! Do you play pinochle?”

You know, the night went very well. We took in two people who were brought over by the police department. We gave them some dinner, and set them up for sleep. I was able to stay awake just fine, because pinochle is the way late-night volunteers stay alert.

So while I agree in principle with Confucius, I am reminded of another saying. “God doesn’t always call the equipped. He equips the called.”

The Lord gave me a willing spirit, good work to do, and good people partner with me. Add in his grace, and I had everything I needed to succeed.



58 thoughts on “Equipping the Called

  1. AND, the skills to play pinochle! Great post, Ceil. I am alway reticent about volunteering for stuff I am unprepared for but, like He did for you, God always takes care of the details. Blessings!

    • Hi Pam! That’s a good way to put it. God takes care of the details. I love that, thanks!

      I feel just like you do, I guess everyone would. I would rather do what I am comfortable doing. But God is always interested in my spreading those wings. Even if it’s just a shift change.

      Nice to see you today 🙂

  2. Good for you for being flexible. I am really good at making excuses at times like that, however, when I go ahead and say yes, it’s usually when I’m most blessed!

    • Hi Mari! Well, I sort felt pushed to be flexible, but I guess I could have said no. It really worked out so well, and I don’t know why I was so surprised. I was blessed for sure.

      Have a great Thursday!

  3. That saying has gotten me through many nerve-wrecking duties. How wonderful that when we give to others we are the ones gifted. Pinocle is something I never learned. Maybe I need to “equip” myself with that skill. Happy Day, Ceil.

    • Hi Kathleen! I like “when we give to others we are the ones gifted.” That is really true. I love that, thank you!

      Every time I go and work that shift, I need the ‘cheat sheet’ for pinochle. The last time I was there in March, one of the guys just reached in his wallet and pulled out the rules for me. I’m getting the reputation for not knowing the rules!

      Blessings to you, and happy day too!

  4. What a beautiful sharing…that touched my heart.
    Our church had a “logo” a few years ago, and it is one that has carried over into my mind and heart: E3.
    Exalt the Savior
    Equip the Saints
    Evangelize the world
    You are doing all of these, Ceil.
    May God richly bless you and all those you touch through His ministry.
    Love you,

    • Hi Jackie! How nice to see you today! What an encouraging comment you left for me, thank you. I think we are all trying to E3, and with God’s help we can make it.

      I really like that logo. I’m going to write it down so I remember it.
      Blessings 🙂

  5. Oh what a beautiful blessing you are Ceil; working with the homeless is such a passion of mine! ♥ Giving is not just about what we do on the outside, it’s about what God does in us and through us on the inside! Our willing spirit is all about the willing heart that God gives us and what we do with it. ♥

    Blessings and love sweet friend!

    • Hi Denise! So you do some work with the homeless too? It really is rewarding work. I hope that the Lord will fill me with what I need in strength and obedience to follow him always.

      Blessings right back to you!

  6. I enjoy visiting your blog and reading your stories and wisdom. I’d never heard the quote, “God doesn’t always call the equipped. He equips the called.” It’s so true!

    • Hi Lauren! It’s a good saying, isn’t it? It kind of quiets the nerves when I think I “just can’t do it.” Thats just when God wants me to step out. Because then he’ll show his might. Amen!

      Have a wonderful evening 🙂

    • Hi Monica! Thank you for sharing your story about the Pastor this week. Stepping out when I don’t know what I’m doing is never a great feeling, but that’s where the power is…that’s where God comes in and takes over. I’m all for that 🙂

      Hope you are having a great day too my friend!

  7. I love it when God gives us those wonderful ah-hah moments! It really isn’t about us at all–it’s all about Him!

    • Hi Lori! You are so right, it is about him! Here I am stressing about what “I am going to do”, when I should know that this is the kind of situation that God loves. Some room for him to move in my life…that’s the best thing.

      Great point, thank you 🙂

  8. Ain’t it the truth … so much we think we need to haul we end up not needing at all. Often it’s His simple grace and love that is way more than sufficient.

    And we can travel lighter …

    Love the work you’re doing there, and here, Ceil …

    • Hi Linda! (Don’t forget I need a wreath!! LOL!)

      His love is sufficient for you…I think he told someone else that too. When God is given the chance to work, that’s when the prayers get answered. I was so glad he heard and answered me that day.

      Thank you for your kind comments Linda. I really appreciate them!
      You are a good blog-friend 🙂

  9. Hello Ceil, I liked this very much! I have never worked in this kind of ministry!
    It makes me think of what he may ask me to do with the seasons ahead. I love reading, maybe I should think of visiting a nursing home to do some reading with them or crafts and maybe just to visit them. Thanks for the story
    Blessings, Roxy

    • Hi Roxy! It is fun to think about what God will call you to, isn’t it? I think he will always call you to something that will fit you perfectly, so reading would certainly be something that could benefit others.

      Thank you for your encouraging comment! I know that God is using you so powerfully for your family now. What a blessing 🙂

    • Hi Brenda! I’m so glad you liked the post today. I can completely understand that it’s happened to you. You’ve done so much ‘stepping out’ for the Lord!

      Have a good evening,

    • Hi Victor! God bless you too my friend. I know we both do what we feel God has called us to do. I always remember that matching donation drive you did on your blog. You lead the way!

      Have a peaceful night 🙂

  10. Oh Ceil, I so love this > “God doesn’t always call the equipped. He equips the called.” And it is so true. All we have to do is be willing and show up…but we absolutely have to show up. Sometimes we need that little nudge. I just love that photo at the beginning.

    • Hi Kim! I love your conviction. Yes, I do have to make that first move, so he can empower me to succeed. It’s scary sometimes, but as you pointed out, so necessary.

      Thanks for the comment on the header design! I like it too 🙂

  11. Ceil, I love how God met you and allowed you to feel comfortable right away. I can imagine you getting all your activity ‘stuff’ together while all the while the Lord is thinking , ‘she has no idea what I have planned for her, but I have made her ready’. And its so true. He has called you to be His and whatever you have need of for His service He will provide. A promise to frequently forgotten….

    • Hi Jeannie! Congrats on the new blog-home!

      You are so right. I thought the same thing. Here I was making ‘sure’ I was prepared, when God already took care of it. Well, he’s used to my silliness, that’s for sure!

      May I always remember his promise.
      Have a good night 🙂

    • Hi Loralu! Boy, are you right about that. Comfort zones are where I feel the most at home…but the Lord is always asking me to move.

      I wish it was Spring here! We had rain and now it’s in the 30’s. Well, at least we don’t have tornadoes..

      Thank you for your visit today!

  12. Somehow the Lord always knows how to stretch us in just the right places, doesn’t He? And it always works out just as it should. Appreciate this reminder, Ceil. Thanks so much!

    Have a great weekend!

    • Hi Karen! You are so right. God does want me to keep testing my boundaries, to never just ‘settle’. And he is always there to help.

      Blessings on your Friday 🙂

  13. Beautiful Ceil. I’m sure that late night experience was eye opening for you too as it was so different from the dinner hour experience 🙂

    • HI Joyful! It sure was a different experience. Very different rhythm, different assignments, people..everything. But it worked out very well.

      Thank you for your visit today!

    • Hi Margie! Thank you for your lovely comment my friend. I know everyone serves in their own way. This experience really taught me that God will take care of everything. A great thing to be a part of for sure.

      Happy Friday!

    • Hi Linda! What a beautiful prayer. I will join you in it, if that’s ok. I’d really appreciate being a ‘conduit of his love.’ I think we all would!

      Have a blessed Friday my friend,

  14. Great story. That first step of obedience is always filled with apprehension, even though we know the path is directed by our Father. You’d think we’d learn! Good for you for being obedient, that’s the first step in being filled with peace, joy, and blessings.
    A good reminder for me. Thanks, Ceil.

    • Hi Floyd! What a great point. I didn’t think about obedience leading me to apprehension, but it often does. Thank you!

      God keeps wanting to stretch me, and I usually need to be backed into a corner to change. That is anxiety producing! You’re right, you’d think I would learn…sigh. Good thing God loves me so much 🙂

      Happy Friday my friend,

  15. Hello my friend Ceil,

    As you and some friends in my mind and today I make a visit to you in this ealry morning. I didnt have enough time during the day to sit in the front of computer and visit everyone. But I’ve been thinking of you and I wanted to say hi here 🙂

    I don’t know about Pinochle again I read your post and go to Google search haha 😀 and I found it’s about cards and I don;t know to play card either haha so I don’t really get it. But you bless my heart with the story of your working. I adore those who have that kind of heart. I love keep myself being busy too, or reading books.

    There’s always a great blessing in obeying the Lord, and it is showed here.
    Thanks for sharing,


    • Hi Delvalina! Yes, pinochle is a card game. It’s kind of like Bridge, but I don’t know if you have that in your country either.

      I have been thinking about you too, I even dropped by your blog yesterday. I hope you are doing well. I work with the homeless, and you work with the orphanage. We are both blessed.

      Have a good weekend!

    • Hi Jean! It’s really true. The Lord wants us to ‘give’ but we always end up getting so much more as you said.

      What a great idea to volunteer at a medical clinic! I’m sure they treasure you as a worker. I know you would be so kind and gentle.

      Have a great weekend my friend!

  16. So glad you stepped out on faith and obeyed that call, Ceil! I smiled at your “preparations”: enough material to last over a Trans-Atlantic flight. I think God gets a kick out of seeing us do the preparations we think are necessary and then surprising us with how little of our preps are needed… because He’s already prepared the situation and circumstances, and us!

    • Hi Ali! Oh I know…I thought I had to fill four hours in the dead of night. Yikes! And God had my back the whole time.

      Faith and trust…I could use work on both of them!
      Happy Weekend 🙂

  17. Ceil, I love reading your posts because I realize through every post how kind and giving you truly are. During my prayers, I ask God to use me as the hands, the feet, and the mouthpiece of Christ. You are all those things Ceil. Thank you for helping the homeless. Yes, God equips the called…Amen!

    • Hi Marilyn! I think you might be giving me just a wee too much credit my friend. I don’t always have the best attitude at 11 pm as I pull into the shelter parking lot. I just do my best, that’s all I can do.

      I have just come to find out that God will cover me in his protection and he does the same to our guests. His grace is a powerful thing. Amen to that!

      Happy Weekend to you! It’s so nice to see you 🙂

  18. I love this Ceil. I sometimes get fearful of what God will ask me to do. I wonder if He will ask too much… if I won’t be able to deliver… if I will fail and disappoint Him. However there is the grace that comes in obedience which makes us do what we thought we could never do. He’s an amazing God!

    Wishing you a lovely day.

    • Hi Jennifer! He sure is an amazing God. If it seems like what he asks me is too much, I have to trust in him that he will give me the right tools to get through. It gets scary sometimes!

      You have a great day too 🙂

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