Week of Monday, January 18 ­– Saturday, January 23
Made for This ­– Man as a Provider

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” 9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” — Jeremiah 1:4-10 ESV
Is there a role you believe you were made for? A role that when you are living it out, resonates with the deepest parts of who you are? A role that brings fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy? Do you feel that way about your job? Being a husband? A father? A leadership role at your church? A civic responsibility? Many of us spend our lives trying to discover what God created us to be and do—what we were made for. What do you think is the most significant calling in your life? What does it look like to figure that out? What if it doesn’t fit into a job description?

Now, I’m not trying to cause consternation with these deep, probing questions you may or may not have solid answers to at this point. Believe me, I know how the words calling and purpose can feel intimidating. But the truth is we can take heart knowing that God has a plan for us, and He has woven together our gifts, passions, talents, and convictions long before we took our first breath. Jeremiah’s story encourages us in that. God’s calling on his life was far beyond anything he was able to do in his own power. Young Jeremiah didn’t plan on being a prophet and he certainly didn’t feel up for the task. He doubted God’s ability to use him. Yet the same God who called him also equipped him with His presence and even the words to speak (v. 8-9).

See, God had a plan, and He knew Jeremiah better than Jeremiah knew himself. God knows us too. He has a plan for our lives, purposed long before we ever understand it. He promises to provide everything we need to fulfill that plan. He knows how to work in and through us to maximize the ways He has gifted us. And He can see beyond anything we will do or accomplish as to how it fits His big picture. He sees it all. God alone is the author of this great story, and He alone can see where, when, and how we get to participate in service to His master plan.

When a man is able to grasp what God made him for, like Jeremiah ultimately did, it brings both a sense of humility and confidence. Humility that God would choose to use us to begin with, but also a sense of confidence that we know our place in His plan. That contributes to our sense of identity in the Lord and is essential to our role as providers. A man who knows what he was made for, his God-given identity, is able to provide an example, especially for his children.

Back when I was a green cadet in the ROTC at Virginia Tech, if you had told me all that God had in mind for my life in military service, I probably would have laughed at you. Looking back, I see how it was all part of His grand plan and how it has given me a unique platform for ministry. That was what I was made for. And it has been gratifying to see a couple of my sons follow my example into military service. But as it did for my sons, God’s plan is still unfolding for me. I am simply trying to be obedient as the Lord prompts and leads. So diligently seek the Lord and His plan, His calling on your life. Find out what you were made for and then go live it in His strength and provision… for His glory!

  • What does Jeremiah’s calling teach you about God and His plans for individuals? How does it encourage you about your own life and calling?
  • Do you have a sense of your life-purpose or calling from God? If so, what helped you gain clarity? If not, who are the trusted voices in your life who might help you discern? How can discovering God’s plan for your life help you become a better provider?
  • Take some time to thank God for setting you apart before you were born. Thank Him for uniquely forming you to live out His call on your life. If you are still discovering what that might be, ask the Lord to bring clarity through His word as well as through a battle-buddy and a faith community who can help guide you toward living it out.