Focal Passages: Jeremiah 1:4-14, 17-19
As a father of four children, I’ve heard some pretty funny excuses for their disobedience. Our oldest daughter has claimed heart attacks and the inability to walk on multiple occasions. My wife and I, sometimes through laughter, simply repeat our directions to our children. How do our excuses sound to God? While we may scramble to find reasons we can’t obey, God has called us to service even before we were born! Furthermore, His calling isn’t based on our ability. While God often uses skills we possess, He never calls us to serve in the flesh. Since He’s empowering us for service, our inabilities, age, or intimidation don’t hinder His calling. One excuse goes down the tube.
God never says, “Go serve me!” without preparing us for the task ahead. For Jeremiah God gave words and the authority to declare them. His calling may require new job skills but it will certainly include passion and conviction for the people directly affected by our service. We can’t have a prophetic voice without a prophetic heart. Here we see the church’s indispensible role in equipping the saints for works of service in order to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Another excuse goes up in smoke.
God graciously affirmed His calling in Jeremiah’s life, by promising him success despite the opposition of His enemies. God affirmed His calling on my life before it was clear to me.
From testimonies of other preachers to the encouragement of friends, God was leading me to preach His Word even before I had such a desire. But the greatest affirmation of God’s call always comes from the interworking of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures contain unchanging truth for every believer, and the Holy Spirit convicts and applies biblical truth in specific ways in each believer’s life. As a pastor I hear many excuses for disobedience, including lack of skills, busyness, disinterest, and many others.
When I think of how lame they sound to me, I can only imagine how they sound to a perfectly holy God who has taken care of all the details. To the work!