We sometimes catch ourselves believing our modern-day excuses for ignoring God's overtures are new to God. We fondly read about Moses, Noah, Jonah and others who heeded God's call, and gently remind ourselves that we have good reasons not to risk life, limb, career, and family to follow God's commands as did the saints of old.
"But that's what preachers are for!" we might say to comfort ourselves that we are simply not trained for the jobs God is calling us to. The fact is, though, most of the people God calls in the Bible say they are not trained, they are not good speakers, or they are otherwise unable to do what God asks. Jeremiah even complains to God that he is "only a boy." Yet, through grace, God accomplished His purposes through these uncertain servants.
"But I have a career, which is something ancient people wouldn't have had." Actually, Moses was a shepherd, Amos a shepherd and dresser of sycamore trees, Simon, Andrew, James and John fishermen, and Matthew a tax collector. God asked all of these people, among others, to leave their professions and work for Him, or at least to do God's work alongside their regular careers.
"I have a family, and of course God wants me to support them." Yes, that's true, but God's call comes even before our sacred calls as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Moses was married with children when he led the Hebrew children out of Egypt. Abram was married when he left his home country on a journey to distant lands. Even Jesus was, at times, forced to distance Himself from his family in order to do the work of His Father.
The bottom line is that all of our modern-day excuses to avoid God's call to discipleship (that is: living lives that resemble Jesus' life, following Him in word and deed) have been tried and well-worn by the prophets, kings and disciples throughout the Scriptures. God didn't accept excuses from Jonah, Jeremiah, or James and John, and He won't accept them from us. All of those heroes of the Old and New Testaments were given the opportunity to accept or reject God's call, and thankfully, they eventually responded with a "yes."
In Jeremiah 1, God tells Jeremiah not only "I appointed you a prophet to the nations," but "before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you." What work has God consecrated you for, even from before you were born?
God always gives us a choice to respond or to make excuses. We have the opportunity to inherit God's blessing today, and to do so we need to answer God today with a "yes!"
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