Life has a way of stealing from us. Among other things, it can steal our joy, our energy, and our hope. When it does, we can draw strength and encouragement from the Scripture.
In the opening paragraphs of Jeremiah, God calls the prophet to serve Him. His call is recorded for us in these verses:
The word of the Lord came to me:
I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born.
I appointed you a prophet to the nations
Jeremiah 1:4-5, CSB
Now, I grant to you that it’s not the eighth century B.C and that you and I are not called to be a prophet to the people of Judah. With that said, however, when we reflect on these verses, we see can draw a great deal of encouragement for our lives today. For in God’s calling of Jeremiah, we see some truths worth embracing.
You have worth.
God made us. God tells Jeremiah that he formed him in the womb. The Bible says that each of us is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and that God has knitted us together (Psalm 139:13-14). The fact that we are formed by the hand of God speaks not only to the value and worth of life but also to the fact that God has shaped each of us to be used by Him. Your worth is not dependent upon your bank account or your career. It’s based on the fact that God made you in His image. He formed you. He shaped you. And thus, you matter. You have value.
You are known.
Second, the text says God chose Jeremiah. The English Standard Version says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” We are not strangers to Him. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, our fears and failures, our hopes and dreams. The psalmist reminds us that God knows everything about us (Psalm 139:1-4). How wonderful is it to know that the God who made us is intimately aware of who we are? We are not some hit and run job. And, despite the fact that God knows us, He still wants to use us warts and all. He chose us even though He knows us. His knowledge and his choosing go hand in hand. Our next truth is inherent in this idea.
You are usable.
Knowing includes the idea of being chosen. God not only knew Jeremiah, He also chose Him. He selected him to serve Him in a special way. Jeremiah had been set apart (“consecrated” in the ESV). The apostle Paul understood this to be true in his life as well (Galatians 1:15). If we are in Christ, we too have been set apart by God. God has a purpose for us.
In addition to being set apart, God appointed Him. He gave him a task to do. God has something for us to do too. We may not be a prophet per se, but we are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We are commanded to love one another (John 13:34). We are commissioned to be witnesses and tell others about Jesus (Acts 1:8). We are challenged to do all things for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Whether we are a sales clerk or a homemaker, a student or an executive, we must strive to do our best for the glory of God. We live out our lives intent on bringing honor to God. You don’t have to be special or famous to do this. You just need to be faithful.
Jeremiah spent his life doing exactly what God had shaped him to do. He spent his life doing exactly what God had set him apart to do. He spent his life doing exactly what God had stationed him to do. May we do the same as we remember these wonderful truths.