Friday, May 28, 2010

Chained for Good: Jeremiah

I sometimes wonder what the dedicated prophets of the bible would have to say about some of the big name preachers today.  Consider some of the top selling books and audio CD's by one of the most famous preachers in the USA today.  His works include:
  • It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor
  • Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day
  • Good, Better, Blessed: Living with Purpose, Power and Passion
  • Living in Favor, Abundance and Joy 
  • Living The Joy Filled Life (Six Easy Steps To Living A Life Of Victory, Abundance And Blessing)
While I'm certain he has some very good things to share, I can't help but wonder how Jeremiah would respond to advice about Six Easy Steps to Living a Life of Victory.  Jeremiah spent a good chunk of his life being hated by his own people, persecuted by those he was sent to save, and tortured for doing exactly what God called him to do.   He's known as the weeping prophet.  

Imagine a conversation, then, between Jeremiah and a Big Name Preacher (BNP) from today. . .
BNP: Jeremiah, my friend, you're not living a victorious life.  Look at you.  You're sad, you're unsuccessful, you're a mess.   But I can help.  Let me share with you the easy secrets to living a life of victory. 
JEREMIAH:  Really.  Do tell. 
BNP:  Clearly you're doing this prophet thing all wrong.  You'd have favor, abundance and joy if God were pleased with you!   You need to activate your faith! 
JEREMIAH:  I'm about to activate you.  
BNP:  You see that?  That's anger.  Let God can turn your anger to action;  your sadness to sufficiency; your trials to triumphs!  
JEREMIAH: You've got a knack for catchy phrases.  
BNP: Thank you.  I'm writing a book about that. 
JEREMIAH:  Of course you are. . .   But here's the thing.  God told me, the day he called me, that my path with him would be terribly hard.  That my work is to warn people of God's coming wrath.  This is what he's called me to.  
BNP:  Of course he didn't.  You misunderstood.  He doesn't want anyone to be unhappy.  He wants to turn your inner Eeyore into a Tigger!  It's right here in my book, "Living in Favor, Abundance and Joy."  
JEREMIAH:  My inner Eeoyore is about to kick your . . . never mind.  I have to go.  Someone wants to throw me into a muddy cistern.  (walking off)
BNP:  Read chapter 3 - God Has More In Store!  
JEREMIAH: (muttering) What I wouldn't give for a little fire and brimstone right now. . . 


Truly, Jeremiah had a tough row to hoe.  So tough, that at one point he curses the day he was born (Jeremiah 20:14) and wished it hadn't happened at all.  But in the end, he stuck with the thing God had given him to do.  He realized that life wasn't all about him, but about God's purposes and Kingdom.  That's a huge thing to remember.
It isn't all about Me.  

A good friend reminded me of that this week, when I was lamenting some of those tough rows God gives.  We'll see what else Jeremiah has to say to us this week in worship.
- Curtis