Summary: …I will do anything God wants me to do but only that.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I know what some of you are probably thinking right now – we’re not surprised at that.
Some of those mistakes were a result of my pride. Like on our wedding night, when I had made reservations at the Camelback Inn, which at that time was one of the nicest resorts in the Phoenix area. After the reception we headed for the hotel and Mary asked me if I knew how to get there. “Of course”, I answered, “It’s right on Camelback Road”. In my defense, you have to remember that this was before the days of Google Maps, GPS and even the internet. Well we got to Phoenix and drove up and down Camelback Road but couldn’t find the hotel. At one point Mary suggested that we stop and ask directions, but I just chalked that up to the fact that we were newlyweds and she didn’t realize that she was calling into question my manhood with that suggestion.
Somehow, we did finally make it to the hotel, which it turns out is located on Lincoln Drive, in the wee hours of the morning. It was a really nice hotel, but since we had to check out by 10:00, I think if you calculated the hourly rate for our stay, it would have been rather excessive. That mistake was a result of my pride.
But I’ve made other mistakes in my life because I lacked a sense of my life purpose. Because of that, I made some decisions to do some things that weren’t necessarily bad, they just weren’t the best things I could have done at the time to carry out God’s purposes for my life.
One of those decisions came in the late 1980’s when several people urged me to run for the school board in the Amphitheater School District. In spite of Mary’s misgivings, I decided to do that anyway and unfortunately, I actually got elected. Now serving on the school board was not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that it took away from some other things that were more important at the time, like being a good husband and father.
Looking back, I can also see that the decision to become the pastor at the first church I pastored was not a very wise decision either. Because I was so anxious to become a pastor, I missed a lot of the signs that indicated that particular church was not a good fit for me and my family.
My guess is that I’m not the only one here this morning who has made mistakes for both of those reasons – pride and a lack of knowing my life purpose. This morning’s message probably won’t do a whole lot to help with that first reason – pride. But hopefully we will learn some things that will help us avoid the mistakes that come from not knowing our life purpose.
Last month in our men’s breakfast we watched the Man in the Mirror video which was titled “Purpose: Why Do I Exist?”. During that study, Patrick Morley said something that would have saved me a lot of heartache in life, if I had only been wise enough to follow it all of my life:
…I will do anything God wants me to do but only that.
This morning, we’ll learn how to do that in our lives by taking a look at the call of a young prophet name Jeremiah.
Before we took the last three weeks to study the fall feasts, we left off in our journey through the Old Testament with the account of King Josiah in Judah. Josiah began his reign at only 8 years of age, but he was a good king who did all he could to restore the worship of YHWH and to remove the idols and get rid of the pagan worship that had been incorporated into the life of Judah during the reigns of his wicked father and grandfather. Unfortunately, that return to God would not be widespread or lasting and as soon as Josiah’s reign ended, the people rebelled against God once again.
It was during that transitional time that a young man named Jeremiah comes on the scene. We’ll read the account of his call to ministry this morning in Jeremiah chapter 1:
[Read Jeremiah 1:1-3]
Jeremiah is born into a priestly family in the small town of Anathoth. His father, Hilkiah, is probably not the same Hilkiah that we read about in the account of Josiah, since that Hilkiah was specifically identified as the high priest, unlike Jeremiah’s father.
The word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah in the 13th year of the reign of Josiah – probably round 627 BC. The northern kingdom of Israel had been conquered by Assyria almost 100 years earlier, in 722 BC, but by this time Babylon had replaced Assyria as the major power in the region. Jeremiah’s ministry continued through the reigns of the last four kings of Judah – a period of a little over 40 years.