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Making It! (10.28.05--Making It!--Jeremiah 52:34)


He had a job most people despised. In fact, his job most often elicited laughs than it did applause. He lived alone since his wife died. There were times that he would go on long fasts, sitting in front of his humble home, drawing stares from his neighbors. He didn’t seem to have much in the way of money or material goods at all. Even his friends were few. Those friends he had confessed that they really didn’t understand or identify with him either. He did his job faithfully but the more he put into it, the less he seemed to get little from it. He was a teacher by trade but his school lacked many students. The message he taught was not popular. Yet, this didn’t seem to dissuade him in the least. To most people he was a complete failure, a crackpot, a real loser. When people met him in the streets they were most likely to pass on the other side of the road shaking their heads. “What a waste of a life.”


Who was this sad and lonely man? Believe it or not, he was one of the most influential men of all time; right up there on the top ten list of great teachers of any age. His name? The prophet Jeremiah. During his lifetime he had little or no following that acclaimed his great abilities or confessed as their belief his teachings. For the most part, he was despised and ridiculed by the very people God had sent him to teach. By temporal measures, he was a complete failure; living an ignominious life, divorced from fame, popularity and fortune. Successful? Not at least by these measures.


Former Senator Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called “House of Dying,” where sick children are cared for in their last days, and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. “How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?” he asked. Mother Teresa replied, “My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.” (Beals, Beyond Hunger.)


God did not call Jeremiah to be successful by any other standard than faith itself. The work that He had for Jeremiah to do was far too important to be judged by such temporal standards as fame, popularity or fortune. These things are here today and gone the next. No, the work He called him to do was faith work--work not often rewarded this side of heaven. It is the same work that our Heavenly Father has called us to do; work that is measured by our willingness to be obedient and holy in His sight. The world may know us as crackpots and failures, but by His standards we are really “making it.”

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