The story of Jeremiah is one of struggle and pain. He came from a long line of priests; a long line of rejected priests. He lived in Anathoth, which is where Solomon banished the priests that were supporting Adonijah, Solomon’s brother who was competing for the throne. Jeremiah was painfully aware of the situation at hand, and while he was in line to become a priest, it might have been in his own interest to avoid it in any way possible.
Then he heard it. “…You shall go to all to whom I send you.”
Given his response, I’m sure he had a much longer list of excuses building up in his head. I imagine his inner dialogue going something like this: “I’m not able to speak… Nope, Moses used that one… I come from a line of rejects… Well, haven’t most of the prophets of the past. I… I’m too young! There’s one that’s gold. God’s got to understand that one!”
“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’…”
I am no son of a priest from thousands of years ago, but I’m pretty sure I would have a list of expletives a mile long running through my head at this point. God’s mind is set, and we all know that when God has a decision made, it’s probably set in stone somewhere.
We all have a call narrative, and most of us have had times where we just want to give up on that calling and run away. We want to pull a Jonah and run, copy Jeremiah and give an excuse, or perhaps find a fault in ourselves as Moses did. Unfortunately for our simple, scared, intimidated, and weak selves, God’s plan is larger. God has a plan that supersedes anything we can imagine or dream. From day one, the Creator God was consecrating us for the tasks that were planned for us. God has been shaping and forming us for our unique calling in life. When we feel inadequate, underappreciated, scared, intimidated, or “too young,” we can be sure that we have been cared for. God is the being from which we are all sent, and the one who cares for us. When we remain in God, we are firmly rooted in the foundation that runs all things.
“Do not say, ‘[I am only ________, or I am unable to ________, or I am scared to ________...]’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you and you shall speak whatever I command you.”
Jonathan Reinink, MDiv Senior