January 31, 2016 Text: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Dear Friends in Christ,
For you adults I want you to think back to your childhood. For those of you who are young think of the current thoughts you may be having. Do you remember or are you hearing these lines? “You are too young to play.” “You are too young to wear that.” “You are too young to date.” “You are too young to stay out that late.” It goes on and on and you look forward to the day when you can make your own rules.
Today in our text, God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet. But it is Jeremiah who is telling God that he is too young. God called Jeremiah anyway. In Christ, God calls you too, your shortcoming notwithstanding. In doing so, God equips you, so that . . .
“EVEN A CHILD CAN DO IT”
This is a biblical story that I can certainly relate to. I was always the young one. Kindergarten at age 4, college at age 17, and at age 25 the youngest man to graduate from my class at seminary. I get a call to serve as a Pastor in Texas and as I go to the hospital or the nursing home or get introduced around the community, I hear the same thing over and over, “You are too young to be a Pastor. You look like you should be in high school.” Oh, to hear those words again!
I never thought I was too young because the Lord knew me and He had equipped me for the work that I had to do. Once people got to know me and my skills, the comments about my age stopped most of the time.
God knew Jeremiah. Before Jeremiah was even formed in the womb God knew that he was going to be a prophet to the nations. God knew you before you were born. He knew the plans He had for you.
By giving each child a soul at conception, God has created an individual person with a special destiny – a plan divinely “appointed” from eternity. And because every unborn child has a divine destiny assigned by the Creator, every unborn child has divine dignity and infinite worth.
Therefore, no life can ever be considered an accident or a mistake. Even when a child is conceived in a manner not as God desires. God still has a plan for the child. Any attack on the developing child is simply genocide and murder, a human life sacrificed for the sake of expediency. Worst of all, it is refusal to let God fulfill His intentions for every child He creates. Any nation that permits such injustice and evil to continue – and even consider it a good and positive thing – has certainly earned God’s judgment.
God knew Jeremiah. God knows you. So intimately, so fully.
God consecrates his children. God consecrated and sanctified His Son, Jesus, for ministry. His ministry was fulfilled in His death and resurrection. He is the Lamb of God, who by his death on the cross takes away the sins of the world. Jesus ever lives now to make intercession for us.
The God, who consecrated Jeremiah, consecrated you. He has sanctified you by the means of grace for your holy tasks. I was consecrated at a young age to carry out the sacred office of the public ministry of Word and Sacrament. What might God have in store for you? What have you been consecrated to do? Is God calling you for some task that fits your abilities?
God appoints His children. Jesus was ordained for ministry at His baptism. He was filled with the Holy Spirit to minister to the Jews and the Gentiles. He did that even at a young age. Remember Him at age 12 in the temple? Christ’s atoning blood offers the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith. By that blood, the God who appointed Jeremiah has appointed you. Whether a farmer, a teacher, an office worker, an insurance employee, a retiree or a child God has given you a task to share His Good News with others. Don’t be afraid, God will give you the words.
That is what He did with Jeremiah. The God with Jeremiah is the God with you. The presence of God is in His Church. The presence of God is in the Holy Supper – “My body. My blood.”
God uses weak, sinful servants to preach and teach His Word. He uses every child of God to share His Word in daily life. “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” Oh, this is so true. Many times I did not know what to say in certain situations but through prayer and the Spirit’s leading I did not need to worry because the words were given to me. It is the same for you. God provides the power through His Word. A Word of power to destroy and overthrow. A Word of power to build and to plant.
When a Pastor is ordained or installed, the fellow Pastors at the service are invited to place their hands on his head and say a verse. I always use Jeremiah 1:17, which reads this way in the King James. “Gird up thy loins, arise and go, and teach them everything I have commanded you.” I love the phrase “gird up thy loins” for various reasons but it always reminds me and the Pastor that the Lord is giving the power, He is the “gird” that allows for the task to be completed.
God is calling you His children to do impossibly difficult things. “Gird up thy loins.” You are a child of God, like Jeremiah. Perhaps you have a hard assignment. Be of good cheer. In Christ, even a child can do it.