Faithfulness is rewarded!
People will change only as much as they want to.
Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken!
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Faithfulness is rewarded!
Chapter 45 of Jeremiah is written to encourage Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe. Baruch was responsible for recording all the things that Jeremiah received from the LORD. It is easy to understand why Baruch might be discouraged. Jeremiah’s prophesies speak of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the enslaving of God’s people. It is easy to imagine these kinds of prophesies creating a sense of fear and dread in the heart and mind of Baruch.
Few things are as depressing in ministry as knowing that God’s judgment is going to fall upon someone and knowing there is nothing you can do to stop it. As a pastor, I am regularly faced with people that have made some very bad choices. They come to me and want me to help them fix their lives and make all the bad things stop. Often, I have to share with them that it is some sin in their lives that is causing the problems and for the consequences to stop they need to change.
That is not what people want to hear. They want you to pray a special prayer that erases the consequences and inconvenience in their lives. They want me to give them a pill that changes everything or wave a magic wand over their lives to transport them to some fairy tale life that only exists in their imaginations. When I tell them the truth they are usually less than enthusiastic about what the solution to their situation is. They often leave with no intention of doing the things that God wants them to do.
It is very frustrating to watch this happen day after day. Thankfully, God brings some into our ministries that hear the truth, apply it to their lives, and experience the blessings of obedience to God. They are the exceptions, most don’t really care what God wants or thinks. As a pastor I know what their disobedience is going to cost them and it hurts my heart to see them insist upon doing things their own way. Baruch was overwhelmed and exhausted by what he perceived to be a hopeless situation.
As ministers of truth we can believe that we are going to be God’s tools to do great things for Christ. We single-handedly will change the world for Jesus Christ. After a while we realize that just because we are armed with the truth of God and empowered with the Spirit of God, people will change only as much as they want to. And often that is excruciatingly short of where God desires them to be. When we come to that realization it can make us weary and we feel overwhelmed.
God promised to give Baruch his life as a reward for his faithful service. We are called to be faithful, nothing more, nothing less. Be faithful and He will reward you with a life that only He can give you. Jesus, help us to stay the course.
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