Jeremiah was called to be a prophet. This calling was ordained by God prior to Jeremiah being formed in his mother’s womb.
“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Like most of us, Jeremiah tried to make excuses as to why he couldn’t do what God called him to do.
“Then said I, ‘Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.’” (Jeremiah 1:6)
This “child” was probably about 30 years old when he spoke those words! He tried to wiggle out of his calling, but he did go on to faithfully obey God in a very difficult task. God sees strengths in us that we cannot see in ourselves, and He knew Jeremiah was capable of delivering the message that God wanted him to deliver. Jeremiah was to warn the southern kingdom of Judah that they were going to face God’s judgment if they didn’t turn from their rebellion. God knew Jeremiah was the man for the job.
“But the LORD said unto me, ‘Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.’” (Jeremiah 1:7-8)
We might look at Jeremiah as a failure because his words were ignored. Jeremiah could have given up after the first year of failure or he could have doubted that God had even called him, but he didn’t. The thing that has to be understood is that Jeremiah did what God asked him to do.
Whether or not the people listened wasn’t his problem. Had Judah heeded the words he spoke and returned to a right relationship with God they wouldn’t have spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity. God doesn’t call us to be successful…He calls us to do His work. Jeremiah preached for many years with no success, but he was faithful to what God called him to do.
The Bible is filled with accounts of God asking people to do things that they didn’t necessarily understand. For instance, Noah lived at a time when demonic wickedness was everywhere. In order to preserve the small remnant of His creation that hadn’t been genetically corrupted, God would send a flood.
Noah was directed to build an Ark and God gave him the building plans. Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives would enter the Ark along with some animals and they would be saved from the judgment. Noah was called to a great undertaking, and he was faithful to all God said:
“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (Genesis 6:22)
Noah would have had a hard time understanding about the coming Flood and how the Ark would be used. The earth had been watered by a mist so rain and floods were unknown, but Noah got busy and didn’t question why. Because Noah had been faithful to his call and did what God asked of him, you and I are here today.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
Had Noah questioned God or decided to build the Ark according to his own way of thinking, all would have been lost. Faithful obedience to God will always prove to be best.
There are many accounts in the Old Testament where men and women were faithful to do God’s will. They did what they were asked regardless of whether or not people heeded their warnings. God called Abraham to leave his home in order to establish the nation of Israel. Sarah was called to follow her husband Abraham and to give birth to Isaac.
Moses was called to lead the nation of Israel out of Egyptian captivity, the shepherd boy David was called to be king and establish the royal lineage of the Messiah. Esther was called to reveal a plot to murder all Jews, and the list is long but inspiring. Each person did what they were called to do. God gives us the opportunity to be a part of His plan and it’s up to us to hear His calling and be faithful.
The New Testament is also filled with accounts of people who were faithful to their calling. For instance, God asked Mary to give birth to His Son. What an honor. When the time was right, Jesus began His ministry on earth and He began by calling men to follow Him.
“Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16-17)
Simon (Peter) and Andrew responded to His call and eventually twelve men became His disciples. Each man had strengths and weaknesses, but together they spread the gospel and we are blessed today because of them. They weren’t perfect men, but they were faithful to their call. Peter had his rough moments, though, but we can learn from those moments and take heart.
After Jesus was crucified and had risen from the grave He met the disciples at Galilee. There He confronted Peter and called him to feed the sheep. Did Peter jump at the chance to serve Jesus? Well, as only Peter could, he shows us that our calling isn’t greater or lesser than what someone else is called to do. After Jesus told Peter what his calling was, Peter saw John nearby and wanted to know what he was called to do.
“Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?” (John 21:21)
Was Peter unhappy with his calling to feed the sheep, or was he excited and curious about what John was called to do? Whatever his reason Jesus made it clear that each had their own calling.
“Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:22)
That advice is for every one of us. Be faithful to your calling no matter what others are called to do. We all are called for a special task and God can use any quality we have to accomplish great things. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians he talked of the various spiritual gifts and how important each one was.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord…But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-5, 7)
Paul went on to say that various gifts are given to members of the body of Christ, but these gifts should not bring division. If someone is called to preach, that’s a wonderful calling but isn’t greater than a person given the gift of prophecy.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ… For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14)
We should never feel inferior because we don’t have a powerful ministry that reaches thousands or millions of people. If you’re called to that, good for you, but if you are called to serve food at the local homeless shelter witnessing to one person at a time, then do that as if you’re doing it for the Lord.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23)
Do what God asks you to do regardless of how small a task it may seem. You’re important to the Body of Christ. Don’t be daunted by what you’ve been called to accomplish. If the task seems too big, be sure you pray and stay strong by studying God’s Word. If the task seems too menial, be sure you pray and stay strong by studying God’s Word.
Let God judge your strengths and weaknesses and assign the task. He called Jeremiah to be a prophet and his calling was very different than what Ezekiel or Isaiah or Daniel were called to do. Noah could have laughed when God told him to build an Ark, but he was faithful to his calling, and his family was saved from God’s judgment.
Maybe your calling is to be a Christian parent who raises godly children. Don’t look upon that as trivial. It could be that you’re called to spread the gospel to the far corners of the world, or maybe your mission field is in your own neighborhood. Remember each member of the Body of Christ is there for a special purpose.
“If the foot shall say, ‘Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body.’” (1 Corinthians 12:15-19)
Each part is important to the whole body. If a part is not there, the whole body feels the loss. What have you been called to do? Each and every one of us is called to be a witness for Christ. Aside from that, God has called you for a special purpose. Study His Word so you can represent Him as best you can. Pray for His guidance and wisdom. Figure out what He wants you to do, then be faithful to your calling.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original Scripture is “theopneustos” (God breathed)