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God-Centered Ambition

God-Centered Ambition

Jeremiah 45:1-5

45:1 When Baruch son of Neriah wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch: 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: 3 You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’ 4 But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. 5 Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Discussion Questions

  • Why is it important to recognize God’s ability to speak into the ordinary routine of life?
  • Baruch expressed sorrow over his situation. Have you ever felt disappointed with your station in life? What was that like?
  • God reminded Baruch of the bigger picture. How does perspective help when we are disappointed?
  • How should Christians think about ambition? What was the warning to Baruch in verse five and how does that apply to us today?
  • Baruch seemed to be concerned primarily with his own situation when he should have been wrecked by the plight of others. How often do you think about the lost and the unfinished work of making Christ known? How might thinking about the lost change your ambitions?
Application
  • What are your key takeaways from this sermon?
  • What opportunities has the Holy Spirit given for you to apply your key takeaways?
  • How is that helping you to grow spiritually?

12.31.2023

Transcript

God-Centered Ambition

*This transcript is generated from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.

All right, well, do me a favor, and if you can locate a Bible, we’re going to be in Jeremiah, chapter 45. Jeremiah, chapter 45. And the blue bibles that we have here on site, that will be on page 692. Six, nine, two. I’m going to read verses one to five of Jeremiah, chapter 45, and we’ll pray and we will get to work. It reads like this.

When Baruch, son of Neriah, wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Johiachim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch. You said, “Woe to me. The Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.” But the Lord has told me to say to you, this is what the Lord says. “I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself, do not seek them, for I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord. But wherever you go, I will let you escape with your life.

Let’s pray. Lord, we open your word together right now, and we’re praying that by your spirit, through your word, you would speak to each of us. We’re praying that you would give us a message that would be helpful and a message that would remind us of what you’re up to in this world and our role in it. Lord, we pray that you would steady our hearts and that you would speak to each and every one of us in Jesus name. Amen.

So, this is what they call ‘national-youth-pastor-preaches-weekend.’ Some of you will chuckle when that clicks, but basically you’ve got the Christmas service and all the effort that goes into then. You know you’ve got another Sunday tucked in there before the start of the new year. And a lot of people are traveling. So this is kind of, maybe you traveled this way, but normally a church service on a day like today would be very poorly attended just because of all the different things that are going on. And so this is kind of a one off weekend experience. This is one that we looked at and we said, okay, we’re going to do all this work to create a great environment for people to come out for their Christmas Eve services. And then we don’t want to start anything until next Sunday, when we’re into the next year. So this is just kind of that stop gap Sunday. And normally pastors take that off or they get the youth pastor to fill in for them or do something different entirely. So today was one of those days that I recognized. Okay, this is going to be a different weekend. And I didn’t really have a set plan for it. So this week I was just thumbing through my Bible and I was praying, God, what do you want to say to our people? What is it that you would like to say to the people of Park City? And thumbing through, and I landed on this page and I read, my eyes were drawn over here, and I read this paragraph here, this chapter, and I thought, okay, I think this is it. And then I showed it to Ash. I showed it to my wife, and she was like, she read it and she’s know. And I was like, yeah, I know it is a bummer. It’s one of know kind of messages that you’re like, oh, that’s not a fun one for the turn of the year. But then I began to think about it, and I was like, you know what? We’re not going to hear this kind of thing in a lot of other places. And so maybe this is exactly what God wants to say to us. It’s a word of caution about our ambitions. And as we’re looking ahead to the upcoming year, we’re setting goals and we’re thinking through our calling and our purpose and the things that we would want to see accomplished in the upcoming year. This is a helpful reminder for us that our ambitions need to be checked against the glory of God. So you’re going to see some things here that I think will prove helpful. That’s been my prayer this week. So I’ve got [three] lessons here, [three] lessons for us to learn from the message to Baruch.

LESSON 1: GOD IS ABLE TO SPEAK INTO THE ORDINARY

Here’s the first one. The first lesson for us to consider is that God speaks into the ordinary situations of life. We know that God speaks in extraordinary ways. In fact, we look at our bibles and we recognize there are a lot of times where God kind of interrupts and does something profound. For instance, the Mount Sinai experience. They go to the bottom of a mountain and all of a sudden it’s clouded with smoke and there’s fire and there’s thunder and all these different things. And God speaks very dramatically there. And you can just keep going through the Bible. The Pentecost experience would be another example where God kind of interrupts and just says, hey, ordinary life is on pause right now. This is extraordinary, and God speaks through that. But what we need to be reminded of quite often is that God will speak to us in the regular routine of life. And that’s what we find here with Baruch. Look at verses one and two. When Baruch, son of Naraya, wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah. Jeremiah said this to Baruch. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch, what is he doing? Well, let’s think about this. Baruch is a scribe. He takes the message of a prophet, a messenger. In this case, the messenger is Jeremiah. And Baruch’s job is to listen to what Jeremiah is saying on behalf of God and to take that message and write it down. And this is before computers and word processing and all of that stuff. So this is a very labor intensive job. He has ink and he has probably a papyrus scroll, and he’s writing these words down carefully, listening to what this prophet is saying and then committing it to paper and doing his job. And as we find out, you’ll see this here momentarily. He doesn’t necessarily love his job. There are some things about it that he’s not satisfied in, but it’s here in the ordinary work week, that God shows up. God speaks to him in the midst of his regular routine. And the reason why I’m bringing this out is a lot of times, as christians, we imagine that in order to hear from God, it has to be this dramatic mountaintop experience. We have to locate ourselves in a situation where God can show up in a profound way, whether that’s a retreat experience or a particular place with a particular ministry that we think we have to take a pilgrimage to, or we think we have to go somewhere or do something or serve on some team. And one of the things that Christianity teaches us is God is active everywhere, and he’s able to meet us in the regular places of our lives. So some of us, as a pastor, I get to hear all kinds of different stories. Some of us will go to work tomorrow, and I’ve heard firsthand, you don’t love your job. And you maybe sometimes imagine this is just what I do. This is what I do this to pay the bills. And I try to get through that 40 hours so that I can get to the other margin in my life where it’s exciting. And I can find places where maybe God would do some profound things, because I can serve on a team, or I can bless a ministry in town, or I can do these different things. But one of the things that the Bible consistently teaches us is that God can speak to you in the regular business of your life, and so you might show up tomorrow morning at a job you don’t love. And guess what? God will address you there. Or you might be a stay at home parent, and you might be thinking, these are the rough years where I’m just trying to survive. Like, my kids are here all the time. They never leave. And you’re just trying to do your thing. And then you come to realize, no, God can meet me here while I’m folding laundry. God can meet me here while I’m helping with homework. God can meet me here in the ordinary experience of my life, and I don’t have to figure out how to get away from that, to get somewhere else to experience God. I can recognize he’s here with me, these things as well. So the first lesson that we recognize is that God gives this personal word of address to Baruch in the midst of his regular work week. And that’s true of us as well. God can meet us wherever we are, doing the things that we are called to do.

LESSON 2: LIFE CAN BE DISAPPOINTING

The second lesson that we see here goes something like this. Life can be disappointing, complaints can be typical, but be ready for God to speak to you. Life can be disappointing, complaints can be typical, but God is able to address us in the midst of those complaints. So here’s what’s going on. Baruch was feeling the difficulty of his assignment. He didn’t love what he was up to. You’re going to see this here momentarily. He didn’t love what he was up to. And so he was articulating the complaint about it, and he’s saying, here’s how I feel. And we’re actually privileged to have this information. It’s one of those situations where the Bible is honest. A lot of us like to hide our faults. We like to kind of pretend we’ve got it all together. The Bible often will do this for us, where you get to step aside and you go, but here’s what was really going on with me, and it wasn’t great. And that’s what Baruch is doing for us here. He’s showing us what he was really feeling, and God is addressing him in the midst of that also, we get this timestamp in verse one that helps us to understand what’s going on in the background. In verse one, there’s a timestamp, and it’s the year, the fourth year, of Johiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah. And that’s the exact same timestamp that you find in chapter 36. So if you wanted to, you could flip back there. In fact, I’ll walk you through that in just a moment. But in chapter 36, it’s that same year, the fourth year, of Johia Kim, son of Josiah, king of Judah. And this message came, and then these events unfolded, and Baruch didn’t want to interrupt that story. So we get the postscript. So after all of that unfolds, now we get chapter 45, and he goes, let me just pull back the curtain so you can see the psychology of what was going on in my heart. Let me just show you what was really going on here. And it’s expressed like this. Look at verses two and three. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch, you said, woe to me. The Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I’m worn out with groaning and find no rest. So Baruch is complaining, and he’s not a crybaby. He’s not just whining about the Difficulties of Life. This really was a very, very challenging thing, and I’m going to show you the details of it by taking you back to chapter 36. So, in chapter 36, Jeremiah gives a message to his scribe, Baruch, and it’s written down. And the thing about Jeremiah was, he was a very unpopular individual. He had a message that was contrary to what the rest of society wanted to hear. And Baruch is his close associate. So by connection, Baruch is unpopular. And so here are a few different reasons why this complaint is very, in my opinion, very sincere and very appropriate. I’ll give you a handful of reasons. First off, it’s an Agonizing message. The message is a message of God’s judgment for God’s people who are not listening to the voice of God. And anytime that a prophet experiences the word of God’s judgment, it is upsetting to them. And that’s where Baruch is living. So it’s an Agonizing message. He gets this message and Jeremiah says to him, listen, I’m forbidden from going into the temple, so I’m going to need you to take this message that you’ve written down and go there and read it out loud. So Baruch is faithful and he does this. He goes in there and he opens up the scroll, Jeremiah, and he begins reading it. And people are pretty offended by it. And they say, okay, well, we’re going to call a fast, then we’re going to start praying about these things that you’re sharing. And then they bring it before a bigger group of people and they say, let’s bring you to some of the higher up officials and let’s have you say this again. Why don’t you read this thing again? And he reads it in the presence of some other individuals, and these other individuals hear it and they’re upset by it as well. And they say, Baruch, listen, we’re going to take this to the king and we’re going to read it, we’re going to present it to him, but you’re going to have to go and hide. You and Jeremiah are going to have to run for your life, because if this message is heard, and the way we anticipate it will be heard, you’re going to be in trouble. So he has to go into hiding. The message is read to the king, and as the king, it’s the wintertime, he’s got a fire pot in front of him. These things are being read to him. And every time it says, he gets a few columns through it, he takes a scribe knife, and what was just read to him, he cuts it out, he takes that and he throws it in the fire pit. The message is burned until the entire scroll is gone up in smoke. And so that was what happened. And the message was rejected by the people of God. And now we get this postscript And Baruch is saying, here’s what it felt like to me. Woe is me, God. You put me through it. I went through some stuff here. And the reason why is obvious. It’s an agonizing message. It’s the message of God’s judgment. It’s an unpopular message. He has to deliver the message of God’s judgment. For people who are unwilling to listen to their maker, it’s unpopular. Jeremiah is the dude who kind of stands alone and tells people, here’s what God wants you to do, but he’s not the only prophet. In fact, there are other prophets with the exact opposite message. And in Jeremiah 23, we hear about them. They’re called false prophets, and their message is not the judgment of God. Their message is peace. And they’re saying, peace, peace. And God says, I didn’t tell you that. I didn’t tell you to say that. You didn’t sit in my council and receive these words from me. You made this up out of your own imaginations. So Jeremiah, is this minority voice willing to say the very, very hard things when there are other people who are willing to say the exact opposite that other people want to hear from? And that concept has not gone away, this idea of messages that we don’t want to hear versus messages that God is trying to deliver. The new testament puts it like this. There’s a time coming when people will not put up with sound teaching, but will gather to themselves teachers who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear. That’s the live feature today. There are a lot of people who want to hear exactly the opposite of what God is actually trying to deliver, and they want to hear a message of peace and blessing. They don’t want to hear this call to repentance and faith. So the message is unpopular. It’s so unpopular, in fact, that it’s dangerous. You have to run for your life. So Baruch is on the run. Another reason why he’s so upset is because it’s unheeded. There was a feature of this message where they were hopeful. Well, maybe if we deliver this, maybe if Baruch goes in there and reads it out loud, the people will hear it and they will repent, and then they’ll experience relief from God’s judgment, and they will experience God’s favor. There was a hopefulness there, and they started out in that way. Right? The fast was a good indication. They’re like, okay, we heard it. We need to pray about this thing. They started fasting, but they didn’t follow through on it. They didn’t see this one through. The message was unheeded, and the king obviously had no interest in it as it was read to him. He just burned it. This is not for me. This is not for me. This is not for us. And just threw it away. So Baruch goes through all this work, and the message is unheeded, and finally it’s unappreciated. His work is being burned up. I don’t know if you’ve ever lost a document before, if you’ve ever done work, only to have it vanish like on a computer, which has happened to me numerous times. You do all this work, and then all of a sudden, it’s just gone and you can’t recover it, and you can’t get it back because user error in some cases, or equipment malfunction, or whatever the case might be, but imagine Baruch, and this is his work, and it is not an easy job that he’s been doing. He’s been laboring over this thing, carefully dictating what Jeremiah is, carefully taking that dictation and writing it down and making sure every word is right, and everything lines up with what God is saying. And he’s doing all of this only to have his work trashed, not just lost, but purposefully demolished. And so he’s feeling the pain of all of this, and he articulates that. He says, woe to me. The Lord has added sorrow to my pain. I’m worn out with groaning, and I find no rest. And many of us can relate to that. We can look at the situation that we’re in today. We can look at the circumstances and the assignment that we have received, and we can begin to wonder, God, why have you called me to this? I’m tired. I’m worn out from this. I’m groaning. There’s pain, there’s an absence of rest. There’s exhaustion and sorrow. And as I think about our church and some of the stuff that we’re going through, I would fully understand complaints like this being applied to many individuals in here, where we look at what’s going on and we feel crushed under it, and we’re wondering and talking to God about it. Why is this the assignment? But God takes that difficult situation and he puts it in perspective. Look at verse four. But the Lord has told me to say to you, this is what the Lord says. I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted throughout the earth. What he’s saying is, I understand what it feels like for you. But basically what God is saying here is, imagine how it feels for me. God is saying, the judgment that is coming on the people of God is something that he’s not excited about. This work that he’s been doing, the thing that he has built up, this people that he has been faithfully leading all these years, and this vineyard that he has planted, his people are now being overthrown and uprooted. And he’s saying, I get that you are disappointed, and he’s not trying to minimize that at all. But he’s saying, keep it in perspective here. Imagine how I feel. These people of mine that I love so dearly are going to experience my judgment. Your problem is not the main problem. So God is saying he has this work and it’s being undone and his heart is being exposed. Another prophet, Ezekiel. He documents it like this in Ezekiel 16:23. This is the heart of God, which is being revealed to us here in Jeremiah, chapter 45. God puts it like this in Ezekiel. He says, do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked? Declares the sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? God is saying, don’t you know me? I don’t delight in the destruction of the wicked. I’m not pleased by that. I would rather that they turn from their evil ways and live. Thomas Goodwin, the puritan pastor, he called this the strange work of God. He’s talking about the judgment of God, and he’s saying, this is something that God does, but it is not natural. It’s strange. The natural work of God is his love and compassion and mercy. Goodwin puts it like this. He says it’s natural for the heavenly Father to show mercy, but not so to punish, which is his strange work. But mercy pleases him. He is, in fact, the father of mercies, and therefore mercy comes from him quite naturally. So Thomas Goodwin is reminding us, and Jeremiah is articulating it here. The judgment of God is not something that God is happy about. It’s a feature of his character and the outworking of his purposes in the world. But we learn very early on in the Bible that the sinfulness of humanity is something that grieves his heart, and dealing with that is not something that he does joyfully, but something that he does strangely, reluctantly, even I might say so. Life is disappointing. It was for Baruch. It is for many of us. Complaints are normal and in some cases are very, very appropriate where we say to God, what gives? But notice that God sometimes will step into our situation, and he will speak a direct word to help us gain perspective. He’s not dismissive of our concerns. I can show you lots of places in the Bible where he does step aside to a particular concern of an individual, and everything else feels like it goes on pause. And he addresses one person’s concern. But here he’s reminding us, a lot of times our complaints need to be situated in the bigger picture of what God is up to. And that leads us to our third lesson. Keep your life in perspective.

LESSON 3: KEEP YOUR LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE

Given that God is doing these things in a grand scale in the world that he has made, we need to be careful about the ambitions that we have. Look at verse five. Should you then seek great things for yourself, do not seek them. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. God is doing a work in the world. And when we recognize that, and we put our life in that context of his grand purposes of redeeming a rebellious world, we need to recognize the greatest thing that we can do is to surrender to his overall purpose, not just the individual purpose, but the overall purposes of God. And we need to be careful about our ambitions. Ambition is not intrinsically bad. The apostle Paul had lots of ambitions. He had an ambition to preach the gospel to people who had not yet heard the good news of the gospel. He had ambitions to take the gospel to various places and to visit other congregations. He had all kinds of ambitions. But his ambition was located in the glory of God and the grand purposes of what God is up to in this world. Whereas Baruch, as we see here, his ambition was actually one of selfishness. Notice in verse five, the key word, I think, is the word yourself. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Phil Ryken, the president of Wheaton College, he was preaching on this, and he pointed out that in the Hebrew, a word that shows up repeatedly, both in the complaint and in the correction, is the word about self. Baruch is upset because things are affecting him. Baruch is upset because things aren’t going his way. And so one of the things that we learn, and I think this is a super duper important lesson, if you think the world is meant to gravitate to you, if you think that you are the center of the universe and it’s all supposed to rotate around you, you will be very disappointed. You will come to find out that is not how the world is rigged. You are not at the center of it. You’re not on the throne of creation. God is. And if you believe that you’re supposed to be and everyone else is supposed to be doing your bidding, then you’re going to have all kinds of things that will frustrate you. And Baruch is identifying, I wanted something for me. I wanted things to go my way. And this message is a corrective message for that reality. What we need to do is we need to learn to die to self. Galatians two, this is the New Testament. It puts it like this. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live. But Christ lives in me. A follower of God is somebody who recognizes what I want, actually needs to go to the cross and die. And if I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, then my selfishness goes there and is crucified so that it’s no longer just me doing whatever I want, but it’s Christ in me, the life I now live in, the body I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. We need to be willing to do exactly that, live our lives for him and for his sake. In chapter five of the same book, it says, those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and its desires. We have taken the things that are self centered, self preoccupied. We have brought those to Calvary, and we say, this is where this comes to die. And the new life is going to be the life of Christ springing up in and through me. Now, this idea is not a fun one, is it? I remember I did youth ministry for a long, long time. And there was a moment where this lesson has been my ongoing lesson in life. But I’ll give you one particular example of it. I remember sitting at another church service, and this kind of stuff was showing up, and the Holy Spirit was revealing these things to me. And I remember my eyes filling with tears. And here was the problem for me. I began to realize that I might not have the most prominent ministry. I was a youth pastor. I was serving a bunch of kids that their parents made them come, and so they’re there against their will, and I’m serving them, and I’m in a basement of a church and nobody even knows about me. And that was what I was feeling. And it brought tears to my eyes because I was thinking, man, what gives God? This is the assignment. Because when you’re in your 20s, you’re thinking, me and God, we’re going to take this thing over. The world is going to be changed. And then it dawns on us when God begins to teach us these sorts of lessons. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Seek them, not humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. You don’t know how God is going to use you. You don’t know what platform you ought to have. But the thing that you should do is be willing to receive very humbly from God the lot in life that he has given to you. So we need to learn how to crucify the self and live for Christ again. He gives us the background of the context he has in mind. The whole earth. Here, verse four told us so already throughout the whole earth, God is doing this work. And then in verse five it says, for I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord. God is reminding us that he is at work in this world on a global scale. And what he is doing is he is sending his son. And his son was willing to exhaust the judgment of God. Jesus was willing to go to Calvary and die in our place so that we could be redeemed, so that we could be forgiven, so that we didn’t have to suffer the consequences of our rebellion because he was willing to pay for it himself. That’s what God is doing. And when we take our eyes off of our situation and we lift them to the reality of what God is doing in the world, it changes us. God is basically saying his global concern is of more importance than your personal crisis. He’s not trying to be dismissive of the pain that you’re feeling. He’s trying to locate your life in the bigger story of what he’s up to. Does your passion reflect the bigness of God and his purposes in this world, because that’s what God is trying to show us here. You might be only concerned with you, and that’s not okay. You need to recognize what God is doing in the world. This reminds me of the story of Jonah. If you’re familiar with it. Maybe from Sunday School, we’ll breeze through it. But there was a Prophet who was given an assignment that he didn’t like. It was to go to Nineveh and to preach against it, and he decided to do the exact opposite. So he boards a ship going to Tarshish, the opposite direction. And then, if you’re familiar with the Story, the shipmates threw him overboard and he was swallowed in a fish. And then the fish spit him up. And he ends up eventually going to Nineveh. And God is telling him, I want you to go to Nineveh and preach against the wickedness that’s found there. And he does that. So he preaches his message. 40 days and Nineveh will be overturned. That’s his good news. 40 days and you guys are going to get smoked. Then he goes outside of the city and he parks there. He sits down and he’s watching. And what he wants to see is the judgment of God falling on this city that he hates and all the residents that are there. So he’s sitting there, and it’s hot, and the sun is beaming down on him. And God gives him a shade plant. This plant comes up and it covers him. He’s delighted by that. It gives him relief from that temperature. And he’s sitting there and he’s waiting, and he’s just like, okay, I can’t wait to see this happen. And then God sends a worm. The worm eats the shade plant, and it falls down. And Jonah gets ticked. He gets so mad. And God says to him, Jonah, are you so upset about this? And he says, yeah, I’m upset enough that I’d like to die right now. And you can read this in Jonah, chapter four. And God looks at him, and he corrects him, and he says, Jonah, you care only about yourself here, about your shade, about your idols, the things that are important to you. You care about the things that matter to you. And you look at other people and you despise them. And God says, should I not care about this great city? All these people who don’t know God, they don’t know it says there in Jonah. They don’t know their right hand from their left. They don’t know right and wrong. And he says, there’s a whole city here of people who are going to experience my judgment if not for my mercy. And he says, and all you can get is how it affects you and you don’t like it. And so God is reminding Jonah and Jeremiah and us, there’s something bigger than just your story. And we need to be willing to lift our eyes to the reality that there’s a world that doesn’t know God and the difficulty of our life. It is significant. It is important we should complain about it. God will help us in the midst of it. But the big story is God is at work redeeming a world to himself through his son, Jesus Christ. And we need to be willing to embrace that grand calling that God has of making Jesus Christ known. And here’s what God says to Baruch here in verse five. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go, I will let you escape with your life. That’s not really an encouragement, per se. It’s going to get really, really bad. Judgment is coming. Disaster is coming. But he says, but I will care for you. He doesn’t say, you know what? Right. You’re right, dude. That was a pretty crummy assignment. I’m sorry you had to do that twice. I’m sorry you had to write all of this out, have it trashed, rewrite it with even more stuff. I’m sorry people don’t listen to you. I’m sorry that this is so hard for you. Let me give you a better assignment. Let me give you one where people will enjoy your ministry, they’ll listen to your ministry, they’ll respond to your ministry. It’ll be fruitful. It’ll be all these different things. No, God doesn’t say, yeah, dude, I messed up. Let me give you a better version here. Here’s 2.0. What God says is, it’s going to be hard, but I will care for you. It’s going to be hard, but wherever you go, you will have this ransom of your life. I will take care of you. In the midst of the difficulty, we have to come to a place where that is enough. I don’t know what God is going to do through park city church. I don’t know what God is going to do through the individual members of our church. I would love to say that on account of the work of God here revival is going to happen, that people are going to come to saving faith in Christ and it’s going to expand to the communities. I would love to say that under the ministry of the word here that people are going to get incredible callings from God and it’s going to be fun and exciting and fruitful. I don’t know. But maybe God will assign us to jobs we don’t like and we just have to show up and be faithful. And in the economy of God’s kingdom, you might be surprised how important that truly is. One commentator pointed out, if it weren’t for Baruch, we wouldn’t even have the book of Jeremiah. It was his faithfulness in the midst of a job he didn’t love that resulted in us hearing what God is saying to us even today. So what we need to be willing to do is carefully examine our ambitions and let them come under the leadership and the guidance of our Lord himself. We need to crucify ourselves so that we might live unto him, and that’ll be enough.

Let’s pray. Lord, we’re asking right now that by your spirit you would continue to help us even as we consider the ending of this year and this next season. Lord, we’re praying that you would give us the humility to trust in you, that we would be willing to accept whatever assignment you give, great or small. Lord, help us to be faithful in that. Lord, as we think about the difficulties of life, would you continually remind us of the bigness of your plan and let the perspective change, change the way that we even feel? Lord, we’re grateful for your care for us. We’re grateful that in the midst of disaster you can spare us. And so, Lord, we cling to you in this season, and we ask for grace and mercy so that we might be your faithful people. We pray in Jesus name.