By Al Behel
“O that I had in the desert a wayfarers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them” (Jeremiah 9:2)
Have you ever felt like giving up? Jeremiah felt that way. He had had it to the gill and wanted to escape to some secret hiding place. And he had good reason. Even though he proclaimed the message from God with all the conviction in his heart, there were no appreciable results.
Worse than that, his congregation was very hostile and wanted to drive him out of town or kill him. They said, “...let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.” They also said, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand” (Jeremiah 11:19,21). No wonder he wanted to quit. If he had resigned they would have shouted for joy. They didn’t like him and they didn’t like his preaching. He was too hard.
But Jeremiah had been called by God and he couldn’t quit. As bad as it was, his task was assigned by God. After 40 years of preaching the people never changed. Still, he faithfully proclaimed the Word of the Lord.
Many people have died thinking their life’s effort didn’t make much difference. Men like Mathew Henry who considered his life meaningless left the world a series of some of the best commentaries in any preacher’s library. His ideas have guided many thoughts shared in pulpits around the world.
How about you? Do you ever wonder if your life is worth it? Maybe you are a mother, a father, a teacher, or preacher—don’t get discouraged. The fruit of your work may not ripen for years to come. You can certainly trust that “...in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Don’t worry about being successful; just be faithful to the trust God has given you. If you are faithful you will be successful. He promised that His word would not return void, but that “it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Remember, as Job said long ago, “the waters wear away the stones” (Job 14:19). Keep on keeping on.
- Al Behel preaches for the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://greatsmokymountainschurchofchrist.com/