by Julia Bruce
CEO and Keynote Speaker
Have you been “called”?
We often hear people in ministry say they were “called” to the ministry. And we say that we commission missionaries and ordain ministers. Whether called, commissioned, or ordained, these people feel that God has divinely led them to serve Him in a ministry capacity. But are these the only people God calls to serve Him?
Jeremiah called to be a prophet
In the Old Testament, God called prophets to tell His people what He was doing or will do. Jeremiah was just such a prophet and in the the first chapter, we find the account of God calling and commissioning him. In the first 3 verses, we learn that Jeremiah was a preacher’s kid (the son of Hilkiah the Priest), that his home town was Anathoth in the land of Benjamin and that God called him while Josiah was in his 13th year of being King of Judah. We also learn that he served God as prophet for about 40 years – from 627 b.c. to some time after 586 b.c.
Called to be set apart and ordained
God says to Jeremiah in verse five that God knew him before He formed him in the womb and before he was born God had set him apart and ordained him to be a prophet to the nations. But Jeremiah, like Moses, objected and even used a very similar excuse. He said he could not speak. Moses claimed he had a stutter, but Jeremiah said he was a youth. Bible Study materials indicate that Jeremiah was most likely only 17 at the time God called him. However, God did not care about His age. He had been preparing and gifting Jeremiah for this purpose since before He was born. What was Jeremiah’s calling? To go to everyone He will send him to and say whatever God tells him to say.
Called and Commissioned – but still human
Then God says, “do not be afraid.” Perhaps Jeremiah was afraid that because of his age, no one would listen to him or that adults would find it disrespectful for him to speak to them. Or perhaps it was the message that he was to deliver. Jeremiah was given the task of delivering an unpopular, convicting message to Judah, one that caused him great mental anguish, as well as making him despised in the eyes of his people.
Often we think of people in the ministry whom God has called and we envision them as spiritually mature, all put together and we hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves too. Then when they reveal they are just as human as we are, we become offended or feel betrayed. However, Jeremiah shows us that the people God calls are just as human as any other person. He experienced rejection, depression, discouragement, and great loss all while being obedient to what God had called him to do.
You’ve been called
As Christians, each one of us has been called, sanctified, and set apart to serve God in a ministry that He has gifted and equipped us to do. This doesn’t mean that everyone of us will be a pastor or deacon or small group leader. Serving God doesn’t just happen within the walls of the church. We are to serve Him wherever He sends us.
For some, he expects us to work in a secular job and share our testimony with co-workers. Some He may call to be writers and share the knowledge and wisdom He gives them to others so that they too can understand. To some He has given the gift of working with their hands, building and repairing homes or fixing appliances. Perhaps your call is to provide this service to free for senior adults in your church. Maybe, He has given you the gift or being good with money and He wants you to volunteer your time teaching low-income, single moms basic budgeting and savings.
Regardless of how God calls you, you’ve been called for a purpose – to go where He sends you and to say whatever He tells you to say. We can trust the God will put His words in our mouth at the right moment and right time.
You’ve gifted and equipped
Whatever He is calling you (or has called you) to do, He will gift and equip you to do it. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial: to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages.”
God has a job for you
Just as God had a job for Jeremiah, He has a job for you. God knew and choose Jeremiah for a specific plan and God knows and chooses you with a specific plan for your life. You might still be trying to figure it out – or maybe you’ve never even considered it. Sometimes, God reveals His plans for us in stages as we are ready. Wherever you are in understanding His plan for you, be obedient to what He has already shown you.
Every Christian should be studying God’s Word and praying. Every Christian should be actively serving within their church. Every Christian is called to serve those within your household. And every Christian is called to be a witness to others. If you are still trying to figure out what God wants you to do, start with these things. As you are obedient with them, He will then reveal His specific plans for your life.
While you’re waiting for His plans, pray for God to reveal them to you. When he does, be ready and willing to obey knowing that like Jeremiah, if God calls you, he will empower your and He will be with you. He will place His words in your mouth and His gifts in your soul.
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