It is ironic that as hard as we struggle for a sense of self, as much as we like to celebrate our real or imagined independence, we also use our sense of only-ness, our by-myself, unattached, unsupported status- as our greatest excuse for our inaction’s and inabilities.
Certainly Jeremiah stood firmly in this all to human tradition. Suddenly confronted by a God-sized mission, divinely ordered to deliver God’s message, Jeremiah succumbs to the onlys. He pleads an excuse of youth and inexperience: “I am only a boy!” But as Jeremiah quickly found out, this “only” excuse didn’t hold any water with God. It was, in fact, a whine that God had heard many times before.
The “but I’m only” excuse can never stand up. Why? Because we forgot on Whom we are trying to use this dodge: God. To each of those halting, hesitant choices, God has essentially one reply- “I am the only God. I will choose whomever I will choose.”
God wanted David’s slingshot to take on the giant. Saul tells David, you can’t go out there and take on Goliath. “You are only a boy” (1 Samuel 17:33). God wanted the widow of Zarephath’s smidgen of flour and oil. When asked for bread and water by Elijah, the widow of Zarephath replied: “I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug” (1 Kings 17:12). God wanted Jeremiah no matter his age. Jeremiah, when called by God, protests: “I am only a boy” (Jeremiah 1:6). God uses the “only” to make an only- the only voice of truth, the only beacon of hope, the only spirit of love, the only words of wisdom. To be such an “only” means to stand alone, stand apart, stand firm, stand against, and stand for. But in each place an “only” is called to stand, in every word an “only” is called to deliver, God’s strength is there as well-and God’s strength is always sufficient.
Have you ever responded to God’s call upon your life in similar fashion? Remember, when God calls you, your proper response is to say, “Here I am. Send me!”