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The Lion Has Roared

The lion has roared— who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken— who can but prophesy? -Amos 3:8

 

Throughout biblical history God called many people to proclaim his message. There were the Josephs and Joshuas and Davids – those who seemed to have the whole extroverted charisma down. But right along with them was men like Moses and Jeremiah. Men who were appointed to preach the word of God and who protested because surely God was looking for the stereotypical leader type, or at least someone who had passed public speaking. “I’m too young,” Jeremiah challenged. “Who am I to do this task?” Moses agonized. But God did not release them from their call. He instead pressed it into their hearts, branding them as prophets and leaders for His kingdom. His word was on their hearts, and shy or not they were passionate about proclaiming His gospel.

There’s a quote that is thrown around by a lot of career counselors: “Do what you love {i.e. what you’re passionate about} and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The heart of the message is valid – you certainly don’t want to pick a career or job that you have no interest in. But with the promise that this quote offers comes a false expectation to be able to land a job, or find a calling, that is fun and enjoyable 100% of the time. And that is unrealistic. Just ask Jeremiah.

Jeremiah did what he was passionate about. He lived in his calling all the days of his life. And the outcome was not some dream job that never felt like work. He received no awards for following his passion, he wasn’t listed on ‘most influential leaders’ lists, and had he been posting his message on social media he wouldn’t have gotten any likes, retweets, or follows. “For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the word of the Lord has resulted in reproach and derision all day long.” Jeremiah’s obedience to the call God on His heart was anything but easy.

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I certainly can’t relate to the intensity of suffering Jeremiah and the rest of God’s chosen leaders and prophets in the Bible endured. Very few American Christians have had to face persecution to this extent. And yet, surely there are those of us that recognize the timidity and uncertainty that caused Moses and Jeremiah to ask God to find someone else to carry out their calling. We understand what it feels like to feel too young, too quiet, too introverted, too shy to do the thing that God has asked us to do. “Who am I to speak to an audience?” “Who am I to write word of exhortation?” “Who am I to lead these people out of bondage?” “Who am I to call God’s people out of sin?”

 

We have the choice to remain silent. To hope someone else will do the job. To wait for the charismatic leader to come along and take over. To close our ears and our hearts to the call of God. Jeremiah had that option too. At any point he could have said no. He could have turned away from the word of God, he could have walked away to live a life that was easier, and found a job that was less work.

 

But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot.. –Jeremiah 20:9

 

It wasn’t an easy life that he chose. It isn’t an easy task to be a prophet, to proclaim truth, to point people to God when they don’t care. But I’m not after easy. I’d much rather slough through hard jobs, hard conversations, hard careers, hard relationships and pursue God’s calling in them than look for the fun and the easy way around and miss that which I was created for.

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