Have you ever felt inadequate for something you felt called to do? Have you ever been overwhelmed at the task at hand?
God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.
Jeremiah began his work as a prophet during the time that King Josiah reigned (Jer. 1:2). King Josiah had started a religious reform in the nation (2 Kings 22), but it seemed it was too little and too late. The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah (Jer. 1:4). I wish that we would never get over the wonder that God’s Word actually comes to us!
In God’s introductory words to Jeremiah, we can learn so much about the character and activity of God.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5).
God’s knowledge of me is not based on observation but on causation.
God intentionally forms and intimately knows every one of us. Knowledge precedes consecration. Consecration precedes appointment. What a thought. God knew us before there was anything to know. And this is more than just knowledge. It is formation with a purpose.
How did Jeremiah respond? The same way that many of us respond.
“Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jer. 1:6).
The problem here is that Jeremiah was focusing on the wrong person. He was thinking about his incapabilities rather than God’s abilities. God made him in a fearful and wonderful way (Ps. 139:13-14). Jeremiah’s excuses were he felt inadequate and immature.
God never reassures us based upon our abilities.
He never tells Jeremiah, “Now, now, now. You don’t talk like that. You are a great speaker. You are the perfect age. You are a special guy.”
He responded with some greater than Jeremiah’s sufficiency.
“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer. 1:8).
God’s presence is a greater reassurance than my potential.
It’s more important to know that God is ready and capable rather than I am ready and capable. God is looking for obedience and faithfulness. These are the things that determine ministry success. Ministry is dependent on the hand of God and the Word of God (Jer. 1:9). Jeremiah’s ministry would be characterized as successful if he maintained God’s words in his mouth.
Feel overwhelmed in what God is calling you to do? Remember this:
- God knew you before there was anything to know
- God formed you intentionally and specifically
- God has consecrated you and prepared you for something
- God has appointed you to a specific task
Will you be faithful to how he has formed you, consecrated you, and appointed you?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.