One of my favorite books of all time is entitled, "Run With Horses," by Eugene Peterson. If you have ever read the Message paraphrase, then you are familiar with Eugene Peterson. The book outlines the entire book of Jeremiah, but lands on one passage of scripture out of Jeremiah 12:5. "If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses?" This passage has changed my today more than any other. It has made me more intentional in the moment as a husband, father and Christ-follower. Let me explain:
One of my favorite characters in the Bible is pre-king David. I am not a big fan of King David, although he has a lot going for him as well. David is just a kid watching his father's sheep. He is minding his own business and before you know it he is being summoned by a servant. "There is a prophet at your father's house waiting on you!" I can only imagine what was going on in his mind. David shows up and Samuel anoints him king. What an incredible moment! What an honor! The very next day, David sits on the throne as king. End of story. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. And that is certainly not how life works. In fact, do you know what David did the very next day? He went back out in the field to watch his sheep!
See, David was now anointed, but he was not yet appointed. He was given a calling, but is not yet ready to step into that calling. This is where we often find ourselves in life. We have been called, or we have a dream of becoming something great. Joseph was here. We read his story in the book of Genesis. He is a dreamer if there ever was one. His brothers hated him for it and sold him to Egypt. God had anointed him for a task, but he finds himself in Potipher's house. It took him years to find himself appointed. Had Joseph not gone through this process, what kind of ruler would he have been? Had David not gone through this process, what kind of King would he have been?
So here we are? Jeremiah, in the first four verses of chapter 12, is complaining to God. Have you been there? "God, don't you see or hear me?" "God, when is it my turn to show the world what I'm made of?" I'm thankful that God is big enough to handle our complaints, doubts and frustrations! Jeremiah is pouring his heart out to God, and then in verse 5 we see God's response: "If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses?"
Here is the Adam Steinbach paraphrase:
If you are growing weary with smallness, what in the world are you going to do with greatness?!
Listen carefully. If you can't get up when your alarm clock goes off for school or work, what makes you think you are capable of running a small business. If you can't finish your homework on time, what makes you think you can handle turning in a project on time. A project that people are depending on. If you can't handle serving your pastor and being willing to take out the trash and sweep the floors, what makes you think you can handle a microphone and a platform.
YES, God has a calling on your life!
YES, God has anointed you for greatness!
YES, God has said that you will be able to run with horses!
YES, you need to be faithful in little before you can be entrusted with much!
YES, you must cultivate your character to maintain and sustain a platform!
YES, you must protect your integrity and learn to walk in humility!
If I'm honest, there are days that I miss the anonymity of the small town that I came from. The church wasn't well known and I wasn't either. It was just me in a field with some sheep. I think of Joshua hanging out in the Tent of Meeting after Moses left. He had no agenda, just time in God's presence. I pray constantly that the time I spent in those moments, were enough for me to handle the time I'm in now. I also pray that the time I am spending now, is enough for the time that is to come.
You don't know what is coming tomorrow. If you are going to make the most of it, you must be faithful with your today. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the paper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Gal. 6:9)