Called To Serve
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 1: 7-8)
Do you remember the last time you felt inadequate? Do you remember the last time you felt you might be in over your head, where you didn’t quite think you could do it?
I remember one of the times someone suggested I should consider going into ministry. I was a sophomore in High School. I had just finished doing a devotion for a Conference event, when the Bishop of the area came up to me and said, “Scott, have you ever considered going into the ministry? I think God is calling you to go into ministry.”
Needless to say, I was a bit surprised. I had not really thought seriously about going into ministry. Mostly because I grew up in a church that was really, really hard on its clergy. Every six years that church changed their lead pastor. Most of them moved because of the difficulties they encountered.
I remember looking at the Bishop, a person I admired very much, and said, “Bishop, did you forget the church I grew up in?” He looked at me kind of strange at first then said, “Ah, Scott, not every church is as difficult.”
I remember saying something like, “I don’t think you could pay me enough to put up with all of the difficulties that come with ministry.”
His response was short and gentle. “Scott, I think God is calling you to ministry. Keep thinking about it and praying about it.”
In all honesty, when approached, I was afraid. I wasn’t sure I could do it. In all honesty, there are still days I am afraid, not sure if I can do it. One of my biggest fears is that some day someone will walk into my office and say, “Why did we ever ordain this person?” and take my credentials off of the wall.
There are days I feel inadequate. Do you know what that is like? Thankfully, we are not the only ones who have ever felt inadequate. In our scripture from Jeremiah, we meet one who is also feeling inadequate.
Jeremiah, like all of us, is called. And Jeremiah, like all of us, is feeling inadequate. Jeremiah, like all of us, is good at coming up with a quick excuse. His excuses are, “Lord, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a child.” What are the excuses you have used to resist God’s call in the past?
Thankfully, God comes to Jeremiah and to you and to me, to remind us that when we can open up to God, God will be with us – to face whatever we have to face and to say the words that need to be said in the time when they are most appropriate.
Loving God, help us to lean on you, even in those moments when we feel inadequate. Lead us through those moments in our life when we are filled with self-doubt. Help us to hear your calling and your words of assurance to walk with us. Help us to see the ways you are encouraging us to be faithful. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen