In Jeremiah 2:4-10 we read of God’s call on Jeremiah’s life. There is often great confusion concerning what it means to be called of God. There is even more confusion relating to the will of God and God’s specific plan for the life of an individual. There are some who confuse God’s will and God’s plan. God’s will for our lives is the same. God’s will is the same for all of mankind. However, God also has a specific plan for each of our lives. When people say that they are trying to discover God’s will for their life, what they really mean is that they are looking to discover God’s plan for their life.
It is also important to note that the majority of people never fully experience God’s will or God’s plan. God does not force His will or plan on anyone. Some may say, how can this be? God’s will and plan cannot be thwarted. It is true that God’s overall will and plan for the course of history cannot be frustrated. For example, there is coming a day when the rapture will take place and the tribulation period will begin on the earth. Nothing can stop such events from happening. However, when it comes to the life of individuals, it is up to the individual as to whether or not they experience God’s will and plan for their specific life.
As we consider a call for the called there are three important truths for us to examine. There is a call for all, a plan for all, and a special call for some.
A call for all. When we think of God’s call for all, there are several things to understand. First of all, God knows you. God knew Jeremiah before he was even conceived in his mother’s womb. God is omniscient. He is all knowing. He sees all and He knows all. There is nothing that is hidden from God. There are no surprises to God, for He sees the beginning and the end. Psalm 139:2-4 says, “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” God knows all things. He knows everything about you. He knows more about you than you know about yourself.
Secondly, God loves you. There is nothing greater than the love of God. One of the greatest hymns of all time is the hymn, the love of God. In the final stanza of that classic hymn it says, “Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made. Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.” There is no possible way to measure the love of God. He loves you specifically. If you were the only person on the face of the planet, He still would have sent Jesus to die just for you, because He loves you.
Another truth to understand concerning God’s call for all is that Jesus died for you. I am often frustrated when I hear of the blatant false doctrines that have been embraced by many today even amongst our own denominational circles. No matter how you look at: Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world. There is no individual of which Jesus did not die for. The idea of a so-called limited atonement is a false doctrine that originated from the pits of hell in order to hinder the spread of the Gospel. Jesus did not die for a select group of people that are somehow more privileged than others. Jesus died for everyone. How do I know that? Why do I believe that? Because it is what the Bible says. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 John 2:2 says, “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” In other words, Jesus atoned for the sins of those who believe in Him and also those who fail to believe in Him. Don’t let anyone tell you that Jesus did not die for you. Jesus died for you, and He has paid the price of sin for you. Your sin has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus. However, just because something is paid for, it does not mean that it is yours. You must choose to believe on Him. You must accept God’s gift of grace that has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus. The point of the matter is simply that Jesus died for you.
A final thought concerning a call for all is the fact the God is calling you to Himself. There is a two-fold application here. First of all, God is calling unbelievers to faith in Him and secondly, God is calling believers to progressive sanctification and discipleship. If you have yet to trust in Jesus as your Savior, mark it down, God is calling you to faith in Him. It is God’s will that all would be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is, “….not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” It is God’s will that every single person on earth is born again and experience all that comes with faith in Christ. Not everyone answers that call. Though it is God’s will that all would be saved, not all will be saved. The offer of salvation is given to all, the means of salvation has been provided for all, however, the implementation of salvation is dependent on the response of the sinner. For those who have already responded in faith and has received God’s free gift of grace paid for by the blood of Jesus, He is calling you to grow in your relationship with Him. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” As believers in Christ, we are called to greater discipleship and called into progressive sanctification in order to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We are called to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. We are called to grow in order to become more like Him.
There is a call for all to come to faith in Christ and to live for Him. This call for all seen in the fact that God knows you, God loves you, Jesus died for you, and God is actively calling you.
A specific plan for all. In addition to a call for all, there is also a plan for all. God had a specific plan for the life of Jeremiah. He had a purpose for his life. God also has a specific plan for you. He has a purpose for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV).” God has a plan completely laid out for your life. Part of His plan is that you know Him, that you are born again. However, it does not stop there. God has a perfect plan for every season of your life. When you stay true to His plan and follow Him, you will experience the full blessing of God. However, when you choose to do your own thing and not follow God’s plan, you will experience a life filled with frustration and despair. Even before you were born, God laid out a timeline for your life. Every point in that timeline is carefully constructed by God. However, most people never stay on that timeline. They choose to veer away from God’s plan and every time they do, they miss out on God’s best for them. Have you ever wondered what you have missed out on during those seasons of your life when you went your way instead of God’s way? None of us ever fully realize all that God had planned for us in this life due to our sinful rebellion. The further away we get from God’s plan, the longer and harder the road to return to God’s perfect plan for our lives. The key is to walk with God daily, being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. God does not reveal His plan for you all at one time. He reveals His plan step by step as you follow Him daily. When you stay in the center of God’s plan you will experience on overwhelming joy and peace as you experience God’s best designed especially for you.
A call for some. Along life’s journey, there are those whom God calls to vocational ministry. All believers are called to be ambassadors of the kingdom of God to this world. However, there are those whom God calls specifically to serving in ministry as a vocation. Unfortunately, there has been long and slow decline of young people entering into ministry as a vocation. This has led to a shortage of pastors and missionaries. According to Barna Research, in 1968, 55% of all pastors where under the age of 45. That number has now dropped to only 22%. In 1992 pastor’s 40 and under made up 33% of all those in the pastorate. Today, only 15% are under the age of 40. These statistics reveal a very bleak trend for the church. The fact is: pastors are ageing and there are fewer young men answering the call to replace the ageing pastors. As the older pastors die off, we are fast approaching a day when there will be a crisis in the churches of America where the office of the pastor is a thing of the past.
There are several things that, I believe, has contributed to the lack of those entering into ministry as a vocation. (1) The moral decline of society and the church. As worldliness finds its way into the church, there is less and less respect for those serving in vocational ministry. Years ago, vocational ministry was a respected position and sought out by many. However, now days there is little respect for those in vocational ministry and it is toward the bottom of the list of desirable vocations. The reason for this is the fact of such worldly mindedness amongst believers. Too many are focused on worldly pursuits rather than on pleasing the Lord and serving Him. (2) Bad advice. Many who have been called to vocational ministry has refused to obey the call due to bad advice they receive from others. I have seen young people that were clearly called of God being discouraged by their parents. They are told that they can never make a living in full-time ministry. Some are told that they should go to college to pursue a career in something other than ministry in order to have something to ‘fall back on.’ This is very bad advice and has led many who were called to never actually enter into vocational ministry due to being caught up in other career pursuits. If someone desires to be an electrician, would they study law so they could be a lawyer just in case being an electrician does not work out? Of course not. That would be absurd. If someone is called to vocational ministry, why would you tell them they need to study something else in case ministry does not work out? If God has called you, He will prepare you and provide for you. If you are called to vocational ministry, then pursue that. Why would you do anything different? (3) Lack of recruitment. How many times do we hear an invitation given in church for people to respond to God’s call for vocational ministry? It is not very common these days. Very few are answering the call because very few are encouraged to consider the call. (4) Disobedience. The decline in pastors and missionaries is not because God is not calling people to those roles. It is because those who are called refuse to answer the call. There are many who were called earlier in life, and out of a disobedient heart, they chose to take a different path. Their life has been miserable and unfulfilling because they refused to do what God had called them to do. Let me be blunt. If God has called you to vocational ministry there is only one answer and that is: Yes. When God calls, you must answer. You cannot refuse. Disobedience never leads to anything good.
God is in the business of calling people to Himself. He is constantly calling us. What is God calling you to? Perhaps He is calling you to faith in Christ. As a believer, is God calling you to rededicate your life to Him today? Is He calling you to greater faithfulness and holiness? Perhaps, God is calling you to vocational ministry. Will you answer that call today? Will you be obedient to the Lord?