So I am going to take some of you way back here. Do you remember when you were in elementary school? When you were out on the playground for recess and playing a game of kickball? If you were brave enough to try your hand at that game, it meant getting into a line with all the other kids. Two captains would be appointed and then they would pick the members of their team one by one till no one was left and then you had your teams and could start play. If you were one of the lucky one’s you got picked right away. These spots were usually reserved for the kids who are the most athletic. While I had size to boot, I was unfortunately not one of these lucky kids. I was usually one of the last ones chosen. Even though I was still on a team and still able to play the game, it was deflating to my ego to know that I was picked only at the end. Maybe some of you can relate to what I am talking about.
Well, as I have discovered, I don’t have to worry about those days anymore because as life has gone on, I have realized that God will always pick me first and that is pretty cool to me. I don’t have to worry about being picked last anymore as long as I have a relationship with Him.
As we look into this idea a little more, I would like us to take a moment and read through Jeremiah Chapter 1:
Jeremiah 1:1-10 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests living in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah. 3 It also came throughout the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The Call of Jeremiah
4 The word of the Lord came to me:
5 I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born.
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
6 But I protested, “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”
7 Then the Lord said to me:
Do not say, “I am only a youth,”
for you will go to everyone I send you to
and speak whatever I tell you.
8 Do not be afraid of anyone,
for I will be with you to deliver you.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
9 Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me:
I have now filled your mouth with My words.
10 See, I have appointed you today
over nations and kingdoms
to uproot and tear down,
to destroy and demolish,
to build and plant.
“I chose you.” The first words God says to Jeremiah, found in Jeremiah 1:5, jump right out at us. Christians often refer to their pursuit of God, but this statement reveals that we aren’t the only ones doing the pursuing. God chooses people and He chooses them to do seemingly impossible things.
When God called Jeremiah, he was young (probably a teenager), the son of a priest, loaded with insecurities, and here he was receiving a mission from God. Can you imagine? It is important to note that this wasn’t the reckless choice of an impulsive God. This was the call of a God who appointed Jeremiah to do His work before Jeremiah even took his first breath. God is a planner and He had plans for Jeremiah. Still, Jeremiah, like so many of us, tried to talk God out of the plan, but as we read in these verses, he didn’t get very far.
Essentially, God says to every follower of Christ, I have a plan and you’re part of it. I’m calling you into an adventure. You’ll face obstacles and pitfalls as well. Whether you endure nights of sheer torment or enjoy days of magnificent joy, I’ll always have My eyes on you and be with you so you don’t have to be afraid. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we really believed that in the bottom of our hearts? What if everyone in the body of Christ said yes to everything God asks of us?
We can’t know for sure, but I imagine our culture would undergo a transformation that would make it unrecognizable. But we can’t reach that point collectively if we as individuals push back against the things God asks of us. Let’s say yes to God and ask questions later. As Jeremiah’s life models, God prepares those He calls and He will help us overcome any hesitancies we have about serving Him.
Today I would like to challenge each of us to listen, I mean really listen, to what God is asking us to do in our lives and then be faithful servants and do it. God can only do remarkable things in us if we allow Him to do them.