5: “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.” – This is not only a message to Jeremiah, a prophet that God used for a special purpose, but a message to us all. God knows us, has created us, and has set aside for each of us a special task.
6: “Then I said, ‘But Lord God, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy.’” – We are always aware of our limitations.
7: “Don’t say, “I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say.” – God knows our value and has set apart tasks that He has specially-gifted us to perform.
8: “Don’t be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you.” – God, Emmanuel, is with us.
10: “Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant.” – We are called to build God’s kingdom.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you being called by God?
Have you been chosen and set aside for a special task? When we read about Jeremiah, are these verses simply a story about a prophet thousands of years ago or do they speak to the circumstances you face today? Are there only a few people called to serve God as Jeremiah was or is this calling for all of us? As a member of the priesthood of all believers, do you see that each of us has been set aside with a specific task for God? Are you being called? Are you listening?
Are you aware of your limitations?
As you respond to the tasks and duties of ministry, do you find yourself saying: ‘I can’t, I am only ______?’ From where do these limitations come? Are they weaknesses in you that God has failed to overcome? Has He somehow forgotten to give you the special gifts and talents needed for the tasks He is calling you to perform? Has God fallen down on the job? Or are these self-imposed limitations? Do you have the faith in God it takes to realize the He is always with you; protecting, guiding, and equipping you for the ministry that is rightfully yours?
Are you afraid? What is there to be afraid of? Are you afraid that you won’t measure up and that, in some way, you will fail miserably? Are you afraid of ridicule and scorn? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid that God will desert you and leave you out in the storm, unprotected and alone with your failures? Is this how God operates? Or can you take comfort in His promise to always be with you?
Are you building God’s kingdom? Are you ready to tear down in order to build up? What needs to be torn down? Are there walls of narrow-mindedness and limited-thinking in your faith community that limit and inhibit the building of God’s kingdom? In your church are there habits, traditions, and customs that interfere with growth, expansion, and development? In your life is there sin, prejudice, and hate that needs to be destroyed in order that God can grow you into the disciple He is calling you to be? Promises of the Gospel:
Prophets and leaders in the Bible consistently reveal their humanness by telling God that they are not up for the job in which He is calling them. He calls anyway. Time and time again, He reaches out to those He has gifted and crafted for a specific task only to hear them say: “But God, I am only a boy” or “Not me, Lord, I can’t speak in front of people.” These excuses are universal and God works through His people in spite of their protestations. When we find ourselves reluctant to step into the limelight and stand in front of people to provide a witness or testimony, or when we hesitate to lead a small group or a Sunday School class, we find ourselves, reluctantly, in a group of wonderful saints and prophets. We are also right where God wants us. He is calling. There is no doubt. However, questions remain: Are we listening? And, more importantly, are we responding to His call?