I’ve been teaching a class on the prophets, and have been reading and studying Jeremiah this week. Pastors, we have many lessons to learn from Jeremiah, his ministry and his calling. Sit down and reflect on Jeremiah’s call in Jeremiah 1.4-19. Here’s what I’m learning:
Take Courage From Your Calling
God knew Jeremiah and had this purpose for him from before his birth. Jeremiah’s ministry originated not in a high school career planning seminar but in God’s divine choosing and appointment. If you do not have a firm sense of God’s call, do not enter pastor ministry. Do anything else. Anything. But if God has called you to this, take courage. God has ordained it, purposed it, and appointed it from before time. Your ministry will be hard. You will get beat up. It may not go according to your plan. But like with Jeremiah, your ministry is part of God’s divine plan and purpose. So take courage!
Do Your Job
When Jeremiah is called, he objects. He’s too young (many scholars believe he’s just an adolescent). He’s not a capable speaker. He’s not trained for this. Sound familiar? But if God has chosen you and sent you, don’t make excuses. Don’t be fearful. Do your job. Speak for God. Deliver his message. If the origin of our ministry and the Word we preach is found in God himself, we need to leave behind our fears and faithfully fulfill our ministry.
God Doesn’t Owe You Peace and Worldly Success
At his call Jeremiah was told that he would be opposed. Many will fight against him. Jeremiah was constantly opposed. His life was very difficult and his ministry was not “successful” by any of the metrics we use to measure success. In fact most of our biblical examples led painful and difficult lives, were persecuted constantly and did not enjoy peace and worldly success.
In our era of celebrity rock star pastors we can develop an inflated sense of self-importance and come to integrate a sort of prosperity teaching as we view our ministry. We feel entitled to something better. We feel God owes us fame and success and peace. He doesn’t.
God is With You
As God promises Jeremiah that there will be opposition, God also promises that He will be ever present with him. God will make Jeremiah into a fortified city. None shall prevail over him, for God will protect and deliver him. The God who calls and speaks is also the God who protects, empowers and accompanies us in our ministry.
Ministry will be hard. We will be opposed. We will suffer. But God knows us and is with us. We are not alone.
Take courage Pastor. Yes, it’s hard. It may not get better. But God is with you accomplishing his purposes.