“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened.”
Jeremiah goes down in history as one of the greatest men who has ever lived. The writer of Hebrews included him in a class of people who he described as, “Men of whom the world is not worthy.” Jeremiah had a ministry that outlasted kings and kingdoms. Even after the nation of Judah fell, Jeremiah’s voice still resounded throughout the land, calling the people back to the Lord.
If we were to use a traditional scale to measure the value or effectiveness of Jeremiah’s ministry, he would not rank among the greats. Day after day, year in and year out, Jeremiah called on the people to turn to God. Although he saw great reforms under Josiah’s reign, those changes had little lasting effect upon the people. The high places and idols that Josiah removed still remained in the homes of the people, and worked their way back into the public forum. As Jeremiah cried out to his nation, the people continued down the pathway of idolatry and immorality, until it was too late and the nation collapsed.
Fortunately, the God who does not see as man sees, also does not measure as man measures. Jeremiah’s greatness was not determined by how people responded to his message, but rather by how faithfully he delivered it. In the midst of complacency, confusion, and full frontal attack, Jeremiah refused to be silent or dilute his message in any way. Like the rising of the sun, Jeremiah’s voice could be heard daily, calling the people to turn to the Lord.
Faithfulness remains the key to effective service. When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will not be responsible for how others responded to the Gospel message, but rather, how faithful we were to God. If you have been called to be a homemaker, then faithfully minister to your husband, and raise your children to love and follow Christ. If you have been called to work in the secular world, then do your work heartily as unto the Lord, looking for every opportunity to share the love of Christ with your co-workers. If you are in the silver years of life, look for ways to invest in the spiritual growth of young people; perhaps serving in children’s ministry, discipleship, or prayer.
When the day comes for us to stand before the Lord, all that will matter is whether we have received Jesus Christ and been faithful to Him. Let’s follow the example of Jeremiah and not allow the rising tide of worldliness to sidetrack us from faithfully serving the Lord.