All of us have heard the saying, “Age is nothing but a number.” Most times, we use it as a means to justify something, or as a means to ensure that we are not excluded from participating in something that has been deemed to be above our current status. I remember when I turned eighteen and my parents explained to me that being an adult meant that the bills you produced were the bills you had to pay. At the time, I had an iPhone and car insurance, both of which they paid without me ever considering that someone else was covering the cost of my luxuries. I remember thinking, “I can’t pay those bills I am only a kid. I need my money to do fun stuff: like go to the movies with my friends, and buy the latest and greatest technology!” I felt ill-equipped to take on this new calling of paying bills. My parents assured me that I would not have to pay the totality of the bills but would have to make a contribution toward the bills I was producing. Even in this gracious offer, I felt that they were asking too much of me, because I was in fact still only a kid.
This is exactly where I believe we find Jeremiah in the text. Jeremiah most likely was in his teens when God called him. Jeremiah felt ill-equipped and inadequate: he wanted to continue enjoying his youth. The office of prophet was an intense and laborious task that often came with the disdain and hatred of the people. Jeremiah felt that what God was asking was too much, that he was in fact still only a boy. Amidst all the excuses of why he couldn’t do it, God assures him that even before he was born he had been consecrated, set apart, and anointed to be a prophet to the nations. The Lord doesn’t just assure Jeremiah; He also reaches out and touches his mouth and places His word in Jeremiah’s mouth. And Jeremiah walked into the calling that God had for his life.
When the next bill cycle came around after my eighteenth birthday, my parents informed me that I would have to contribute only half of each bill, until I felt comfortable and equipped to take over the payments exclusively. Looking back, I believe that this was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Their help allowed me to go forward like Jeremiah, knowing that I was equipped and also not on my own. Within six months, I was paying my own bills. Similarly to Jeremiah, I believe that had I not been called out and shown that I could do way more than I thought I could do, I may never have progressed. Jeremiah’s story is assurance that whenever God calls us, e does not forsake us but goes both before us and with us. Throughout our lives there will be many times where we feel ill-equipped and unable to do that which we have been called to do. However, we know that we are not disqualified because of our age, or any other insecurity that we might hold. Age is not a qualifier as we live into our callings, but we do so knowing that God created us knowing our full potential.