Summary: When God calls us God is no respecter of persons-young, old, rich, poor, etc. God calls people from of all walks of life and backgrounds to serve him.
Sermon for 4 Epiphany Yr C, 1/02/2004
Based on Jer 1:4-10
By Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson,
Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church,
& Chaplain of the Good Samaritan Society’s
South Ridge Village, Medicine Hat, Alberta
“Called by God”
A man was telling his neighbour, “I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state-of-the-art. It’s perfect.” “Really,” answered the neighbour. “What kind is it?” And the man answered, “Twelve thirty.” :-)
Theologian Paul Tillich once said: “The first duty of love is to listen.” When God speaks and calls us, how well do people listen? Are we like the man with the new hearing aid who hears something different than what God has really spoken to us? The fact is that God calls each and every one of us. Writer Frederick Buechner once said: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” That can be almost anywhere in the world and it likely involves every vocation and walk of life. God calls each one of us to a special purpose—whether that be the ordained ministry or as a Christian serving God in any other way.
In our first lesson today, we learn of God’s call to Jeremiah. We notice, first of all, that God is described in this passage as all-knowing. God had predestined Jeremiah before he was even born for a special purpose. To be told by God that God had known, consecrated and appointed you before you were born must have been a tremendously humbling experience for Jeremiah. This was likely the case because we learn that Jeremiah was only a youth, still wet behind the ears when God called him. In the society of ancient Israel, youth were more seen than heard. People listened to and respected the elderly.
The Bible indicates that the call of God comes to those of all ages. Jeremiah protested he was only a “youth.” By present day standards, Moses was an old man when God spoke to him through the burning bush. Joan of Arc was 17 when she left home to follow the guidance of her heavenly vision. And when Samuel was merely a youngster he heard the voice of the Lord calling to him in the middle of the night.
Apparently age is not a determining factor in the mind of God. To Jeremiah, He said, “To all whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.”
Saul himself, was just a young man when he agreed to the stoning of Stephen and began his persecution of the early church, and not much older when he had his blinding experience with the Lord on the road to Damascus. Yet, the blindness of Saul became the light of salvation to Paul when he yielded himself to the will of Almighty God. 1
Youth, old-age, or any age aside; class, gender or race aside; God is no respecter of persons when it comes to the call to serve him and his purposes. In answer to Jeremiah’s protest and everyone else’s protest; in resisting God’s call; God answers each one of us something like this: “I am calling you to do this because it needs to be done and, with my help you can do it. I’ll provide you with everything you need in order to do it. Listen to me and trust me, I will be with you every step of the way.”