As I have read and studied these passages this week, I am struck by the calling. Clearly, all four passages relate to being called in some fashion. What strikes me is that in all four passages, the calling is the same. In all of these scriptures, the calling is to relationship with God.
"Speak, for your servant is listening." Samuel, young as he was, did not know the voice of God. Three times he made the mistake of thinking Eli was calling him (I am not certain Eli knew the voice of God either). I have always thought that in this passage Samuel was being called into the Lord's service; however, God did not give Samuel anything to do. Instead, God tells Samuel about His plans. He talks with Samuel, and even vents some of His frustration about Eli. Samuel has been called into a relationship.
Being called into relationship really makes sense in the Psalm passage. The Psalmist speaks of being known on a deeply intimate level, which frankly would be difficult without a relationship. To be known so well without relationship would be horrible; the result would be an Orwellian kind of hell. Yet that is not at all what the Psalmist describes, because he speaks of the give and take of relationship, both being known and knowing the thoughts of God, as in verse 17: How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them!
John likewise talks about relationship. Nathanael has jumped to conclusions about Jesus, but Phillip invites him to set his assumptions aside and find out first hand who Jesus is. Nathanael is invited into relationship, and he accepts the offer to find out the truth for himself rather than operate on assumptions. He immediately finds out that his assumptions were wrong. Hmmmm -- how often does that happen?
The Corinthians seem to have missed this whole idea of relationship altogether. The attitude of 'doing what I want to do when I want to do it' makes for unhealthy relationships. Instead, if a relationship with God is fostered, then food or sex or [insert your favorite vice here] becomes a way to honor God, and improve your relationship with Him. The spiritual disciplines are evidence of this.
We are all called to a relationship, not to anything less. Praise be to God.