Jeremiah lived in troubled times. His kingdom of Judah was nearing the end of its political life under the threat of Babylonian expansion. At the same time, there was a movement to reform religious life under the leadership of King Josiah. And God was calling Jeremiah to become a prophet.
Like Moses, Jeremiah had excuses. He thought he was too young (“only a boy” may be an exaggeration, but he was young). He thought he wasn’t up to the task of political and international work. He was being called to proclaim the rise and fall of nations! But then the Lord touched Jeremiah on the mouth, signifying that what he says will be the words of the Lord. That’s guaranteed.
What do we learn from this? First, that God calls whom God will call. Even though he was young, Jeremiah was chosen, consecrated, and appointed. How do we think about God’s calling us? Is there a sense of predestination in these verses that we need to take seriously? Do you believe that God really has a plan for each of us? People talk as if that were the case. Or does God leave us to figure out the best way to fulfill our calling to minister to others? What do you think?
We also hear that our call to ministry is where our passion intersects with the world’s needs. What is your passion? Is it writing? Is it working with children? Is it gardening? Should gardening, in fact, be your passion, then contributing to the local food bank could be God’s call to you for ministering to the world’s hungry people.
To what is God calling you in these days of suffering in the world? What passion do you have that meets the world’s needs?
God, I hear your call. Give me the will to explore what that means and how I can make a difference in the world. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? How does your passion intersect with the world’s needs?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? How can you look to minister to the outsider and the oppressed?
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