Scripture Passage: Jeremiah 1:1-10
Key Verse: "Before you were born I set you apart" (Jer. 1:5, NIV).
I tried acting a few times in high school. Let's just say I was no Harrison Ford, but I did learn a few things. First, acting takes a great imagination. Second, I'm not, nor have I ever been, a bird.
My first leading role was playing a baby bird. Feathers, beak, flap-your-arms-and-try-to fly, the whole nine yards. I did the best I could, but sadly, I'm afraid my best baby bird imitation was more comical than serious, kind of like casting Dumbo as Romeo. Later in the play, I got to play a real human being (a little boy who wanted to be a dancer, but, hey, it's better than being a bird), and it was a whole lot easier than trying to fly.
As strange as it may sound, learning that I was not a bird taught me a lot about being a Christian. How many people do you know who step out of their nests every morning and fly to work just by flapping their arms? Not many, right? Well, how many birds do you know that come home from work, kick back on the couch, and read the evening paper? Let's be honest—less than one, right?
That's because birds and people are different creatures. We see things differently. We think things differently. We do things differently. Perhaps that was why it was so hard for me to act like a bird. But in the same way, as creatures of God's light, we are a different species than the creatures of the world's darkness. We also see, think, and do things differently. Not because we consciously think about it, but because of what we are. But too often (much like my baby bird experience), we waste our time pretending to be something we are not.
That is the point that God is making to Jeremiah in these verses. "Before you were born I created you for something special," He says. Jeremiah tries to explain to God that he can't do the actions God wants him to, but God corrects him: "This is what I made you for; don't be afraid. Don't pretend to be a bird when I made you a human being."
Before we get ready to act, we must remember this truth: Our actions always grow out of who and what we are.
So, before you try to fly, who and what are you?
© 1997 Sean Taylor