How do we measure success? Is it measured by personal wealth, the size of your house, the number of automobiles? Perhaps early retirement or a fat bank account or a big pleasure boat are measures of success. success might be measured by the accomplishment of life goals or by achieving some measure of fame or fortune. None of these measure the success of Jeremiah. He spent 40 years trying to convince the kings of Judah to be obedient to God, but none of them were. He told them that death, destruction, exile and hardship would come if they failed to hear and obey; but they didn't. It seemed that no one listened to him and certainly, it seemed that no one changed their behaviors because of his preaching; but he preached on anyway. He was threatened, bullied, imprisoned, cursed and criticized; but he preached on.
Jeremiah was successful as a faithful follower of God and is often spoken of by those who understand that faith has rewards that may not be easily recognized by human eyes and ears. Jeremiah was faithful and courageous in proclaiming God's word. He was faithful to the call that God had put on his life....to be a prophet. Jeremiah calls a sinful people to repentance. When they refuse to hear and obey he tells them that the wages of sin will be high. He predicts the destruction of Jerusalem. How do we know if a prophet speaks the truth? If that which he prophesies comes true. And Jerusalem falls.
Jeremiah weeps over the coming judgement and so should we. The knowledge that we have that one day God will separate the sheep from the goats should drive us relentlessly to the same kind of faithful action. We should speak the truth in love. Shape in ways that will be an encouragement, but speak it. Jesus is coming again and our time is limited. Will you hear? Will you obey? Will some be saved because of your faithfulness?
Jeremiah served faithfully when it seemed that all the world was in decay. Does that remind you a little of the world that we are in today? I do not pretend to be a prophet. I do not know the day or hour in which Jesus will return to claim his bride, but I know that he is coming and for some it could be this very hour. Will we be found speaking the good news when he comes for us?
Jeremiah is a great story of faithfulness in the midst of difficulty. I hope that you find it to be an encouragement to you to live faithfully.