God never calls anyone to anything without adequate preparation. If we want to be successful in fulfilling God’s call on our lives, there must be preparation. Robert Shuller said, “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
When God called Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:4-10, we see that God did not send Jeremiah out blindly. God gave him exactly what he needed for the task to which he was called. In our text, we see five truths concerning the call to prepare.
Preparation begins with a personal sense of unworthiness and inability. Jeremiah 1:6 says, “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” This was not a mere excuse from Jeremiah. This was a legitimate concern that he did not have the maturity needed to carry out the task that God was calling him to. On the ground level of all preparation, there must be a sense of one’s unworthiness and inability. If you are at a place where you think that you have some special ability and worthiness to offer, then you are at a place where God can never use you. Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Being set apart as an ambassador of Jesus Christ is a very humbling experience. To think that God loves me so much that He would invite me into His kingdom and allow me to serve Him! Who am I to be in God’s presence? Who am I to be given the gift of salvation? Who am I to be called by God to serve Him? In order to be used by God, every ounce of personal pride must be stripped from our lives. We must get to a place where we are totally dependent upon Him. Apart from the grace of God, we are nothing. Therefore, our preparation must begin with a personal sense of unworthiness and inability and a complete dependance on the Lord.
Preparation provides encouragement and assurance. Verse seven says, “But the Lord said unto me, say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” God tells Jeremiah not to think of himself as being immature and unable. He goes on to tell Jeremiah that He would be with him and give him the exact words to say. The encouragement we receive here is that God is always with us. He will never send us out alone. He always goes before us and with us. We are also assured that though we are inadequate and lack ability, God will work in and through us and give us exactly what we need at the moment we need it.
Preparation instills confidence. Jeremiah 1:8 says, “Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” There is nothing more comforting to hear God say that He will be with us. When God is with us, there is nothing to fear. Having confidence is key to anything that we do. Confidence brings success. However, our confidence must be in the right thing. The confidence we have should not be in ourselves or our own ability. Rather, our confidence should be in the Lord. We do not have to be afraid of the task given to us. We do not have to be afraid of what people may say or think. When the Lord is on our side, we cannot go wrong. The closer we are to the Lord, the more we are filled with the Spirit; the greater our level of confidence will be. The more we are prepared, the more confident we will be in our mission. The preparation we receive from the Word of God develops within us a level of confidence that solidifies the fact that ‘with God, nothing shall be impossible.’
Preparation involves God’s hand. Verse 9 says, “Then the Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth….” Have you ever been touched by God? Technically, God’s hand is on us all, for if His hand was not on us, we would cease to exist. But, have you been touched by God in a special sense? If you are born again, you have. God’s hand is upon you. There is no possibility of being used by God and fulfilling His call on your life without His approving hand upon you. God touches those whom He calls. His hand is upon you. He approves of you. He is on your side. He wants to use you. Will you let Him?
Preparation is specific to the task. Verse 9 goes on to say “….Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Whatever God calls you to do, He will equip you specifically for that task. For example, if God has called you to a ministry of leadership and administration, He will open doors for you to be prepared and trained in those areas. If God has called you to work with children or senior adults, God will provide ways for you to be trained and equipped in those areas of ministry. Such specific preparation must be sought out, and as we seek it out, God will provide what we need.
The call to serve the Lord is a call to prepare. We are all called to serve the Lord; therefore, we are all called to prepare. It is imperative that the local church provides the opportunity for training and equipping for specific areas of ministry in order to follow God’s plan to equip the called. Will you answer God’s call today? Will you put yourself in a position to be prepared?