Jeremiah 1:4–10; Matthew 9:35–10:1; Romans 15:14–19
When confronted by a calling on our lives, often anything but, “yes,” will cross our lips first. This doesn’t mean, “yes” doesn’t come later. If you’re reading this, in some way you’ve already said, “yes.”
The question then is, what’s next? That’s often an uncomfortable, life-changing, or even dangerous question to ask. Will you be told to cross the globe, or to go next door?
The revered prophet Jeremiah didn’t say “yes” to God, at first. We read the Scriptures and assume it was immediate, but it’s also quite possible that God took a few days. We don’t know.
We can see from others’ lives though that God works on hearts for days, months, and even years. God nudges, cajoles, encourages, sends others to talk sense into us.
God basically informs Jeremiah that his arguments are groundless. God had already set Jeremiah as a prophet. Jeremiah only had to be faithful. That is a big only, by the way.
Jeremiah believed he was unqualified for the duty. He was probably right, from a human perspective. God’s perspective was different.
In many respects, prophets were “sent ones”. They were sent to the people of Israel by God.
Shortly after the birth of the church, the 11 disciples (and later Paul) were called Apostles. Apostle just so happens to mean, “sent one”.
Jesus had the 11 for up to 3 years. They weren’t prepared for what it meant to follow Jesus (especially after the crucifixion). They certainly would have said, “Us lead a religious organization?”
We look at the Disciples/Apostles as uniquely called and qualified people. In many respects, they were. They had unique callings, for sure.
Yet, today the entire church is filled with apostles. We’re not talking the Apostles (as the specially defined ones), but apostles…the universally “sent” ones.
Some might use the word “missionaries.” The issue is that “missionaries” are often consciously and unconsciously presumed/assumed to be the apostles (sent ones) to other countries.
Most are not called to another country, and maybe not even another state. They are called and are being sent into coffee shops, restaurants, laundromats, and every other workplace.
The apostles—the sent ones—are you.
There continues to be a presumption that missionaries, pastors, and other “called” people are the ones to reach the world. Were that the case, then why did the Holy Spirit fall on more than just the 11 (original) + 1 (Matthias, added later)?
Pastors are called specifically to equip the apostles to reach the world. The church (as a whole) is having to rediscover that. We, as Christians, need to not just assent to it. We need to embrace it.
Paul encourages the Romans with the words that they are equipped! So are you!
Does that mean that the equipping stops? Of course not. There is just the reality that no one, not even pastors, will be perfectly equipped for every situation and person.
If you believe that you are unequipped, seek help! Yet, be aware that just because you believe that you are unequipped that God won’t still use you, or that (more importantly) it excuses you from your calling.
Lord, may we acknowledge the call you have made upon our lives, and share the self-sacrificing love that you give. Amen.
1) What keeps you from sharing about Jesus?
2) Which is scarier, sharing the gospel with someone 15,000 miles away, or the unbeliever next door?
3) Why do you think the church, pastors, and everyone else often believe it is the “professional’s” responsibility to share about Jesus?
Ian is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, and is currently Co-Lead Pastor at Enumclaw Nazarene Church in Enumclaw, WA, USA.
He has previously served as Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA; Associate Pastor at Snohomish Church of the Nazarene; College and Young Adult Pastor at Moscow Church of the Nazarene in Moscow, ID, USA.
Ian also writes at Starlyth.info (personal) and Nazarene.Digital (On Digital Transformation of the Church)