Summary: A sermon about God’s call on your life.
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
In these opening verses of the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet gives us a testimony of his “call” to become a prophet.
One thing immediately stands out.
Jeremiah did not “choose” to be “appointed…as a prophet.”
Becoming a prophet wasn’t some sort of “career move.”
Actually, it was just the opposite!
Had Jeremiah wanted to be a prophet, he would have signed up.
He would have gone to seminary or prophet school!
This wasn’t his idea.
This “prophet thing” was all God’s idea.
“The word of the Lord came,” to him.
This wasn’t the result of some personal search for God.
God is the One Who took the initiative.
God is the One Who makes the choice to call Jeremiah.
And Jeremiah’s response is all too human!
All he could do was make excuses as to why he shouldn’t do it.
He wasn’t qualified for this.
This job never showed up on his career aptitude test.
Besides, he was too young.
He was only a boy.
He didn’t know how to speak well.
And he didn’t want to have any part of this “speaking for God” stuff!
But God won’t take “No” for an answer!
God’s call never goes away or magically disappears!
God “reached our his hand and touched” Jeremiah’s mouth.
This is no time for excuses.
Even if Jeremiah doesn’t think he is qualified for this, it’s no problem for God.
God will put the words in his mouth.
God will tell him what to say.
God will help Jeremiah with what Jeremiah thought was impossible.
And, as always, what God promised; God delivered on!
Jeremiah’s excuse making disappeared.
His rebellion melted away.
And Jeremiah became a prophet, one of the greatest prophets in the history of Israel.
And the Book that follows these verses in today’s lesson is a testimony to that fact!
But it almost didn’t happen!!!
And what a tragedy that would have been, not only for Jeremiah but also for the people who needed to hear and learn from God’s Word!
Jeremiah suffered from a condition which seeks to stifle all of us.
It can be brought on by a low self-esteem, the lure of the world, laziness…you name it!
We can call this condition, “Yahbut’s Disease.”
It’s a way of making excuses for ourselves; its an uncanny ability to wiggle our way out of doing what God is calling us to do.
“Yeah, but…I do not know how to speak…”
“Yeah, but…I am only a child…”
“Yeah, but…I am too old…”
“Yeah, but…I do not know enough about the Bible.”
“Yeah, but…I’ve got too many other things I need to be doing.”
“Yeah, but…there are so many others who must be more qualified than I.”
“Yeah, but…Yeah, but…Yeah, but…”
We can “yeah, but…” all our way to the grave, or we can decide to trust in God and do what we have been “set apart” and “appointed” by God to do!
The choice is ours; the consequences are eternal!!!
I didn’t have a choice as to what God was calling me to do with my life…as to why God “formed [me] in the womb.”
I don’t have any memory of this experience, but have heard it from my parents on several occasions.
When I was about 3 years old I was in a room with a bunch of other kids.
Everyone was playing and running around, but not me.
I sat glued to the t-v; it was as if I were mesmerized.
On the t-v was a program about angels, and I couldn’t tear myself away from it.
For whatever reason, it fascinated me.
All the other “fun stuff” that was going on in that den didn’t mean a thing.
All my attention was focused on the spiritual.
My parents stood in the doorway watching.
And as they did, they made a remark to one another: “Kenny is going to be a preacher when he grows up.”
When I was 5 years old, my family went to see the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar.
While (I would imagine) everyone else enjoyed the movie, but didn’t think too much about it after the credits began to roll; I became obsessed.
A few days later I talked my mother into buying me the album soundtrack to the movie.
I would come home from Kindergarten and spend hours upon hours listening to the music and lyrics, and looking at the pictures on the album jacket day after day after day.
I was just being “me,” and I didn’t even know it.
As early as I can remember, prayer played a huge role in my life.
I always said my prayers, by myself…in my room…before I went to sleep.
No one was forcing me to do this.