Most people don’t like to be the one to bring bad news. That’s because no one likes to hear bad news! As I’ve been reading through the book of Jeremiah lately, I can’t help but hurt for the guy.
In a culture where the prevailing message was basically “Peace, peace. Give God His token dues and do whatever else you want…” Jeremiah was called to warn of impending conquerors. After generations of their treachery and neglect, God was about to work a painful move (for Him and His people) to re-engage His people in the relationship He intended. The end would be incredible, but it would be a painful process.
Has anything really changed?
I know, I know… Everything has changed… Jesus changed it… We are not Israel…
But I wonder if we’ve replaced the faithless-ness of ancient Israel with our own? Have we replayed the same games that they did? We may not carve our statues and bow before them, but we make our own idols, don’t we? And we chase after them with the same wanton abandon that Israel did. (Jeremiah said they were like a bunch of camels in heat!)
Check your screen time and see if I’m wrong. Count the hours you’ve given in pursuit of paychecks… or trophies… or anything else we think is what will satisfy our thirst for “just a little bit more.” Are we pursuing God with the same passion as we’re following NASCAR or Tiger (what an incredible comeback, right!?) or our favorite team? Are we as adamantly pro-Jesus as we are our favorite political issue of the day?
I bet there were days when Jeremiah felt like it sucked to be Jeremiah. And yet… the counter cultural message that he was called to carry and deliver was no more offensive than the one we are called to bring. Offensive to God’s own people! We are supposed to be sounding a message that will invite people to surrender and to walk in relationship with Jesus. Our culture is going to hate that. Our church culture will buck at the suggestion that the American dream is NOT the same things as living in right relationship with our Father. It won’t be an easy message to carry.
But if we’re going to be the church He’s called us to be, we’ve got to wade into the calming waters in which we collectively drown to help people understand that “we are not ok.” before it’s too late. The comforts we enjoy in our sliver of time and place cannot rescue us from the storm that sin has brought with it. That’s the bad news.
Thank God we are not without an update to the bad news. The tomb is empty! The “Word made flesh” has poured out His Spirit to teach us and enable us to bear the weight of the work He wants to do through us! So “Stand by the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16) He is what satisfies. Chase after nothing less. Give your self to nothing else.