The prophet Jeremiah is one of the most interesting of the Old Testament prophets. Sometimes referred to as “the weeping prophet,” his minstry was particularly hard, as he would bear witness to Judah’s stubborn disobedience and the wrath that would befall them because of it.
His written testimony records the following as part of his “call” to ministry:
“But you, dress yourself for work [gird up your loins]; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you” (Jer. 1:17-19).
In essence, Jeremiah is told to put on his cup and get ready for a beating. “You will say everything I command you, and all the people will war against you because of it,” are God’s marching orders.
These orders carry a principle for all who are called to preach. It is simply this:
Proclaiming the gospel is not for the timid. It is not for the cowardly. It is not child’s play.
It is hard. It is painful. It is exhausting.
People will hate you and will war against you, because the gospel is an offense to all who are perishing (cf. 1 Pet. 2:8). But if you’re called to preach, you must preach the words that God has given you.
So here’s the question I’ve got: What am I “called” to do in service to Jesus? What has he enabled me to do?
I have a passion for Scripture, and to do whatever it is Jesus would have me do—but what is that?
Outside of any grandiose ideas that may crop up, how well am I proclaiming the gospel in my day-to-day life? Have I “girded up my loins” and prepared myself for work? Am I willing to speak the truth to all around me or am I afraid? Am I ready to take a beating because of the offensiveness of the gospel?
Some of the answers to these questions are easy. How well am I proclaiming the gospel daily? Honestly, I don’t know if I’m doing it that well, beyond the blog. In certain circumstances, I am absolutely terrified to speak the truth… in at least one of those, it’s because I don’t know if I would be doing so from a position of love and respect.
I don’t know if I’ve fully prepared myself for the cost that comes along with the gospel, but I do know that if God’s word is true, then he will deliver me in the end.
So perhaps I need to stop being a coward and start having some hard conversations.
Maybe then I’ll be a little closer to an answer.