Never Too Young (01-02-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 103:20-22
Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-8
The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
"Alas, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young."
But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.'
You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord.
I wonder what you wanted to be when you were young and whether you achieved your childhood ambitions. When I was a child, spending most of my time on the local farm, I would have been content to have spent my life on a farm, working with animals. The closest I got was spending eleven years working as a farm adviser in animal nutrition and farm management. Our youngest daughter, however, wanted to become a physiotherapist ever since at the age of eight when she was a ‘guinea pig’ in a talk by a physiotherapist in the Girl’s Brigade to which she belonged. She went on to train as a physiotherapist and works as one today.
As I look at my grandchildren, or the children in church, I can’t help but wonder about the world they will grow up into and how their lives will unfold. Will they be safe? Will they be content? Will they be fulfilled? Will they grow up to be followers of Jesus?
In our reading, Jeremiah was aware, at a young age, of a call to be a prophet. In the turbulent times in Israel in Jeremiah’s day this would not have been an attractive ambition and Jeremiah was quick to find excuses. ‘I’m too young’, he says. ‘I don’t know how to speak’.
God has plans for all of us. I wonder what excuses you make for not fulfilling what you sense he might be asking you to do. Maybe you don’t have the confidence. Maybe you think someone else could do it better. Maybe you don’t think you have the qualifications or the experience. Maybe you have been put down in the past, or failed in the past, and feel unwilling to try again.
However you might feel about yourself, God says to you, as he said to Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.’ And whatever excuses you might make, God says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you.’
Let us resolve not to make excuses, but to trust in God. Let us also pray for the children we know, that they will grow up to fulfil God’s potential for them both as children and as adults.
Father God, I lift before you the children I know.
May they grow up to know your love and to fulfil your plans for their lives.
He will hold me fast.