Psalms: 56, 57,  & 64, 65
OT: Jer. 1:11-19
NT: Rom. 1:1-15
Gospel: John 4:27-42
Sometimes us pastors whine. We whine about how hard our calling is.
“People are messy!”
“We never get closure!”
“I don’t feel like I make a difference!”
I’m no stranger to this. Every once in a while a pity party feels just about right. Some times you get tired of the, “Hey you only work one day a week, right?” joke. As a pastor people tend to put me on a pedestal or try and pretend that I don’t exist. Either way, it can lend itself to a desire to have a pit party.
No matter what we do, there is a trap that we fall into. This “woe is me, nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” trap. Teachers, counselors, construction workers, lawyers, you name it, all of us have felt this way at some time in our lives. For some reason we can struggle to see the good and we focus on the bad.
Here’s the deal, no matter how bad we think we have it, none of us were Jeremiah. This guy is known as “The Weeping Prophet.” His calling was to preach to the Kingdom of Judah regarding their impending exile. The preaching of the prophet Jeremiah is a brutal read. He was emo before emo was cool (actually, if I were to ever start an emo band it would be called Jeremiah’s Call).
Check out this interaction between Jeremiah and God,
And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north disaster shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the LORD, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah. And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands. But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:11-19, ESV)
Jeremiah knew from the outset that his calling as a prophet was going to be rough. God told him to “dress yourself for work.” When God says it’s time to work then you better bring your lunch pail.
Yet, in the midst of this God tells him that he has his back. “Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.”
This was a specific promise to Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s calling was going to be difficult, to say the least. So, God promised that he would protect him and deliver him and make him strong. God would provide all that Jeremiah needed to carry out his calling.
While this is a specific promise to Jeremiah, I think that we can learn something about God’s character in this. If he has called us to something he will care for us and provide for us.
It’s also a good reminder that what God has called most of us to is a lot better than what God called Jeremiah to do. Maybe we should stop whining and be grateful for our, comparatively, cushy callings. Let us also rest in the reality that God will care for us and provide for us to live out our callings.