Devotional

“Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.” – Acts 16:4-5

God had a mission for Jeremiah. It was not a fun mission. Nor was it a mission that would garner him any fame and fortune. God told Jeremiah to go to his brothers and sisters in Israel and demand they repent and return to God.

Jeremiah knew it would make a lot of people angry. He figured that he might be killed by an irate mob. Therefore, he made many excuses to God for why he wasn’t the right man for the job. “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth!” (Jeremiah 1:6-9) Even though Jeremiah was making excuses why he couldn’t serve the Lord, God didn’t give up on him. He encouraged him by saying, “I will be with you and will protect you.”

It’s natural for the Christian today to do the same thing. We come up with clever excuses why we shouldn’t follow the mission the Lord has given us to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15) We say to ourselves and God, “I don’t know enough about the Bible. What will they think of me? I don’t want them talking behind my back. I might lose my job! Let somebody else do it.”

Fear will inhibit our ability to fulfill our mission. God immediately saw the fear in Jeremiah’s heart and said, “don’t be afraid of the people.” The Bible teaches that “fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” (Proverbs 9:10) On the other hand, faith will overcome your fears. God will be with you if you are obedient to His calling.  

God never calls us to do something for Him that He doesn’t empower us to do if we are willing to do the work and time. Take the time to get to know God in an intimate way. As your relationship with Him grows, so will your mission for Him. Your purpose on earth is to shine God’s love to a lost, dying world.  Open your ears and your heart to the Lord and be excited about your new future serving Him in truth and spirit.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19-23)

Discussion Questions:

  1. What can we learn from the story of Jeremiah? 
  2. What can we do this week to fulfill our mission?