A collect call, also known as a reverse charge call, was the type of call I remember my mother being the most suspicious of accepting. As a boy, there were several occasions when I was the first to answer our ringing phone and heard the operator say those famous words: “you have a collect call from…” Even as a boy I felt that there was something odd about hearing the person calling being introduced by an operator. Before choosing to accept or reject it I observed my mother answer two questions: One – ‘who is it from?’ and two – ‘how much does it cost?’ She rarely accepted due to the charges and that taught me that there is always a price to pay when accepting a collect call.
In Exodus we are told of Moses, a man who answered a call from God. “Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro (Reuel) his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was on fire, yet it was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned away [from the flock] to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:1-5 Amp
Moses, whose name means ‘drawn out’, was saved from death as an infant during a Hebrew genocide. He was carried on the Nile River away from the presence of his loving mother and into the arms of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Except for divine intervention, this would’ve been the end of his story because the king had commanded that all sons born to Hebrew women be killed. Despite the decree from her father, pharaoh’s daughter had compassion for the baby and agreed to hire a wet nurse to care for him. The wet nurse was Moses’ very own mother. Who nurtured him for about twelve years before giving him over to the Pharaoh’s daughter who became his adopted mother. It was during the first part of his life that Moses received the knowledge of his culture, history, and faith. This knowledge was the framework for his life’s mission.
One writer provides some historical context: “At the court of Pharaoh, Moses received the highest civil and military training. The monarch had determined to make his adopted grandson his successor on the throne, and the youth was educated for his high station. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Acts 7:22. His ability as a military leader made him a favorite with the armies of Egypt, and he was generally regarded as a remarkable character. Satan had been defeated in his purpose. The very decree condemning the Hebrew children to death had been overruled by God for the training and education of the future leader of His people… By the laws of Egypt all who occupied the throne of the Pharaohs must become members of the priestly caste; and Moses, as the heir apparent, was to be initiated into the mysteries of the national religion. This duty was committed to the priests. But while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be induced to participate in the worship of the gods. He was threatened with the loss of the crown and warned that he would be disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence to the Hebrew faith. But he was unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God, the Maker of heaven and earth. He reasoned with priests and worshipers, showing the folly of their superstitious veneration of senseless objects. None could refute his arguments or change his purpose, yet for the time his firmness was tolerated on account of his high position and the favour with which he was regarded by both the king and the people.” Patriarchs and Prophets pg,246
Considering his background, most would agree that Moses’ decision to answer the call to lead the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage cost him.
Hebrews 11:25-27 says of Moses: “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.”
Notice the “by faith” part. It was by faith that:
Abraham answered the call to leave his home and journey to a land he knew nothing of (Gen.12:1)
Isaiah answered the call when he said, ‘Here am I send me’ (Is.6:8)
Paul answered the call to Sheppard the people who campaigned to murder (Acts 9:5)
Now the phone is ringing in our own ears. There is a price that we must pay to answer it but then again there is a price to pay if we don’t. As Jesus stands at the door and knocks, He patiently waits on the other end of the line. What we pay by answering His call is much less than the price of rejecting it.