Sunday’s Scripture ~ Jeremiah 1:4-10
This passage of Scripture shares the call of the prophet Jeremiah. God calls Jeremiah to live a life set apart and to lead God’s people through proclamation, guidance, and accountability. Jeremiah resisted, but God convinced him, and Jeremiah lived his life in the service of his Lord.
As I read Jeremiah’s call story, I am drawn to the memory of my own. I have known since the age of 11 that God called me – and calls me still – to live a life set apart and to lead God’s people through proclamation, guidance, and accountability. I cannot recall any moments where I resisted in the manner of Jeremiah, but that does not mean that I have not faced my share of hardships…and it does not mean that I do not continue to face hardships. I receive criticisms on my age and my gender. My intellect and work ethic are questioned. I am looked down upon and it is God who helps me keep on standing when my knees buckle.
Some folks think that only ministers, pastors, and priests are called by God. Not true. So not true. We all participate in the ministry of all believers, which means we are all called and set apart by God to do a specific task or many specific tasks in the Kingdom. Some flavors of set apartness lead persons into lives of ordained clergy and other flavors of set apartness lead persons into lives of awesome servant leadership without having a formal title in the church.
But wait…we all bear a formal title. Actually we have several formal titles from God.
Child of God. Disciple. Beloved.
All of these calls – clergy / laity / children of God / disciples / beloved – are worthy and honorable and necessary in the Kingdom.
We can try to offer excuses to God as to why we are not fit to serve or worthy of God’s call, but if we gaze into our Scripture passage for this week we learn that God has an answer to each of our objections. We could follow in the footsteps of Jonah and flee from God’s call with an excursion on our own, but I know I would rather follow God’s will – no matter how trying it may seem to me – smelling fresh and clean than smelling like l’eau de poisson.
How awesome it is that our mighty and powerful God, who could and is able to do all the work and service needed in this world, is so generous in inviting us to join the work? When we call on God, we want an answer…and that’s a two way street, my friends. When God calls on us we should not send God to voicemail or hit “ignore” or receive the message and never respond. God calls and God wants an answer. The unknown of that call – the where will I be sent, what will I be asked to do, how will I make this work, why did God pick me – will be answered in time. Our initial and quick answer to God’s call should be in trust and in faith.
“I am with you to deliver you,” God said to Jeremiah.
God affirms those words to us as well.
And we should say, “Here I am, send me.”
Prayer: “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior; standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.”* Amen.
*”Standing on the Promises,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 374.