What is the very first thing that crosses your mind when someone calls your name? If you're like me, it will often depend on what you're doing at the time. If I am busy, my very first thought may be "What now?" even if I quickly filter it and respond, "Yes?" This is not a "Yes" - I am eager to serve but a "Yes" - I am acknowledging that I hear someone calling my name.
How come my first thought isn't "Great, someone needs me, how can I help?" I know the reason for me personally. For me it's because the world really revolves around me. If I think I'm being called for something that will directly benefit me then my initial thoughts are excited but if I'm otherwise busy, my initial thoughts are much more annoyed. The problem is I'm basically selfish.
This is a bad enough attitude when dealing with people, but it's an attitude that carries over with my relationship with God. If my wife calls my name, I can filter out my initial selfish thoughts and respond nicely. When God calls on me, he knows my heart immediately. He knows when I'm just being a poser.
There is a great example of the attitude I want for myself in 1 Samuel 3:1-10. Samuel is lying down when he thinks his elderly mentor, Eli, is calling for him. His first thought is not, "What now, I'm tired" but he runs to Eli's side and eagerly says, "Here I am; you called me." Eli tells Samuel that he did not call him and sends him back to bed. This happens twice more and each time Samuel eagerly runs to Eli's side to see how he can help.
After the third time Eli figures out that it is God calling Samuel so he sends Samuel back and tells him to respond to God the next time he hears his name called. God then calls Samuel's name again and Samuel responds, "Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening". In other words, "Hear I am, how can I serve you".
I like this example because it shows how Samuel's heart was eager to help Eli, even when it was inconvenient. This led to Samuel being able to recognize God's voice where he responded with the same eagerness ready to serve God.
If I am too selfish and busy to eagerly help get dinner ready, how ready am I to hear God when he asks me to truly sacrifice. How ready am I to answer, "Here I am, how can I serve you?"
Great cross references:
Genesis 22:11 (Abraham)
Genesis 31:11 (Jacob)
Genesis 46:2 (Jacob)
Exodus 3:4 (Moses - burning bush helped a little)
Isaiah 6:8 (Isaiah's call - all time favorite example of response to God's call)
Acts 9:10 (Ananias)
And then there is God's response to us, even when we are not ready to call for him...