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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Faithful in little things!


Jeremiah is the prophet of the Old Testament who seems to get the worst 'press'!  It is true that his prophetic utterances do contain a fair bit of 'doom and gloom' - he lived for some forty years just before the people of Judah (the southern kingdom) were exiled to Babylon, and his message was, basically, "It's too late to avoid God's discipline, so accept it, and repent"!  Needless to say, such a message didn't find favour, and the prophet even ended up in prison!  However, there are also words of hope in the message and, in the Lamentation (a funeral dirge) of Jeremiah, are found some of the most wonderful words in the Old Testament: "The faithful love of YHWH never ends; His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lam.3:22-23).

Jeremiah also had messages from the Lord for individuals.  One of those was his own 'secretary', a man named Baruch.  It was the pastor and author, F.B.Meyer, who said: "Don't waste your time waiting and longing for large opportunities that may never come; but faithfully handle the little things that are always claiming your attention."  That, by the way, is advice that I certainly need to keep in front of me and that, I suspect, need to be heeded by many - especially disciples of Jesus!  We must learn to be content to work, diligently, where Father God has placed us, remembering that He is more concerned with our faithfulness (read Matt.25:14ff) than with what we might consider to be 'success'!

God's message to Baruch, through Jeremiah, received such a message.  He was a man of noble birth who had been kept busy transcribing that message of doom about Jerusalem.  But he was disappointed because his own dreams and aspirations were being thwarted.   Others were being promoted to more important posts in the royal court, while he was engaged in routine duties!  Perhaps he had expected that he would have been offered some noble position as a reward for his faithful service.  Instead, he was rebuked for not being satisfied with the task that YHWH had entrusted to him.  Through the prophet, YHWH spoke: "Are you seeking great things for yourself?  Don't do it!  I will bring great disaster upon this people, but I will give you your life, wherever you go." (Jer.45:5).

Perhaps that's a message for many of us. Perhaps we need to put down selfish ambition that the Christ may be exalted.  Perhaps we need to take the attitude of one of Jeremiah's prophetic successors, John the Baptiser, who said of the Lord Jesus: "He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less!" (Jn.3:30).

Always remember, that it is better to be faithful than to be famous!

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