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Sermon 9/16/07 –
Vector Management – Jeremiah 1:6-8

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Vector Management

“'Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’” But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say I am a youth, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord“ (Jeremiah 1:6-8)

I inherited a house when my Mom went to be with the Lord. It had been her home for fifty years. We still have the house, for instead of selling, it was restored and turned into a rental property. The income is God’s blessing, for it covers the mortgage payment on the home where we live. This is one of the interesting ways God has provided for us since we responded to His call and entered full-time ministry.  Recently something happened which is a reminder that it is important for all of us to not only receive from the Lord, but also to carefully tend that which He has placed into our care. I am also reminded to not be afraid when trouble comes for He is with those He calls.

We received a “Notice” from an agency we had never heard of before, called “Vector Management.” Someone, probably a neighbor of the rental property, called the county and complained of creatures running on electrical wires behind the property, ostensibly in relation to the fruit trees in the back yard of my Mom’s home. All tree limbs were to be cut back so they would be no more than three feet from the electrical wires and any fruit that had fallen on the ground was to be removed. Further action would be taken against us if the work was not done.  We knew some kind of notice from some agency or another would be coming because a neighbor to the property had called a couple of days before the notice was received, telling us something was to happen because of “vermin” on the wires, as he put it. I think the call was actually God preparing and calming us in advance. We took bids from tree trimming companies, chose one of them, and a few days later, the trees were remarkably smaller from pruning, the yard had been cleaned of any fallen fruit from the trees and our wallets were somewhat lighter in the experience.  But God has entrusted that property to us and He is with us in caring for it.  Don't be afraid when complications in life happen, for God is with us.

There was never any doubt as to whether we should trim the trees or not. As the Lord has intended through the centuries, and as reflected in places like Romans 13:1-2 - “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Agencies like “Vector Management” are there because God intends good for everyone. If governments act badly, it is people who are the problem; not God.

Our Scripture for today contains important elements. Six hundred years after Jeremiah the prophet lived, Jesus said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16). As explored previously, we are “chosen” by our willingness to respond to His call.  In today’s Scripture, we see Jeremiah’s initial response to the call of God. He said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” Jeremiah correctly understood that he did not have the maturity to speak the words of God. He did not have the knowledge, experience or the education for such a position. In relation to his contemporaries in the employment category labeled “prophet,” he lacked the educational credentials required. He did not graduate from a proper seminary or have a doctorate in prophetic education.

He was literally a boy, a teenager who would be “afraid of (the) faces” and responses of those he would speak to. The Lord’s answer to him contains words that we should all hear and understand. God said, “Do not say I am a youth, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid… for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord" (Jeremiah 1:6-8).

Note the reasons WHY Jeremiah, you, me and all who are led by God do not need to be afraid: Our limitations are not the issue, and yes, we do have them. If all in ministry were somehow revealed to the world for what we really are, ALL of us would be disqualified from serving. When the Holy Spirit, through Paul, said, “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), He wasn’t kidding. There are a number of places in Scripture where the various offices assigned by God to mankind are described. One is in 1 Timothy Chapter 3, where the qualifications needed by “bishops” and “deacons” are revealed. “Elders” are defined in Titus 1:5-9.

If you compare such qualifications with the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapter 5 & forward), you’ll see that it’s not only our actions, but it is also our thoughts and attitudes that are judged unacceptable by a holy God. Jeremiah was right – he was unfit and could not, in his own strength, respond to the call of God. We serve because of God’s grace, His unmerited favor, not because of some inherent “goodness” in us. Does that mean we should all run away and “continue in sin that grace may abound?” as Paul asked in Romans 6:1. The response is “Certainly not!... we died to sin” and must not “live any longer in it” (Romans 6:2). We can say “Yes!” to God because of His grace.

If you are being called by God to some work for His kingdom, such as teaching a Bible class, you need not do it in your own strength. As the Lord responded to Jeremiah, you can “go to all to whom (He sends) you,” doing all that He has in mind, and you do not need to be “afraid” for a very good reason – God is WITH you when you respond to His call.

I remember a professor in college who scornfully said, in response to a question I asked, “I’ll bet you’re one of those who believe that, “When God guides, God provides!” He went on to give an anecdote from his own experience, revealing that, to him, the statement and the concept behind it were not true. Actually, for the past thirty years, I have observed first-hand that (in all due respect) it was the professor who was wrong on that issue.

If God calls you to teach or preach, He will be with you and help you know what to write or say. If He calls you to give money, the fact that you don’t have enough to give at the moment is not the issue. All money and everything considered valuable in the world is HIS, not yours, mine or anybody else’s. As Corrie Ten Boom prayed for the needs of her orphans, “Lord, please sell one of Your cattle on those ten thousand hills and provide what is needed.

If there is a “Vector Management” in your life, know that you can deal with it because God will help. If you don’t have money or skills, "do not be afraid," for He is with you.

Lord, help us to not be afraid. Let us respond, not to our limitations, but to Your call. We say “Yes” to You. You are with us and we praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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