I don’t know if you remember a moment when you were “called”. My memories include a small Scripture Union group when I was 12 when, like Wesley, there was no denying the “warming” of my heart. And a prayer with hands laid on at 16, where there was almost an audible “follow me”. However jaded I have felt at times in the ministry, the power of that Call has kept me focussed through these 30 years. What was certain then was that God still calls – it was not only an Abraham and a Moses thing but an enlistment in the service of God’s kingdom here and now.
Of all the characters of scripture, the one I would least like to be caught on a Desert island with is Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a downer. There wasn’t a person or a thing he didn’t denounce. Jeremiah 1: 4 – 10 takes us right back to the beginning, to his Call. The story is classic: “God interrupts someone, issuing marching orders; the recipient resists (usually for very good reasons); God insists, reassures, and empowers. The Call is enveloped in love but the primal response of the hearer is fear. Jeremiah is ushered into something bigger and better, into God’s truth and a life of service to the Almighty”.
We do not choose God. It is God who chooses us (John 15: 16) and God is relentless. Jeremiah is called and appointed “a prophet to the nations”. Jeremiah’s story was not going to be a success story. He is a prophet by the touch of God’s hand to his mouth. It’s not going to be easy and when you read the story till its end, you wonder whether it was not just torture. This is going to be brave work but he did it and in the end, Israel learnt something about the God she served.