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“I Am Only…”

Then Jeremiah said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak for I am only a youth. But the Lord said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I shall send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
Jeremiah 1:6-8

Jeremiah was only a youth and yet, he was a messenger from God. So here is a good word to eliminate from your vocabulary—it is the word “only.” Only a teenager, only one person, only a senior citizen, only human.
 
Fred Craddock, one of the great Christian preachers of his generation, had a bone to pick with people who use this phrase: “I’m only human.” When do we usually use those words? Isn’t it after we have royally fouled things up? I gave into temptation—“Well, I’m only human.” I overslept this morning—“Well, I’m only human.” I ate that last piece of chocolate cake—“Well, I’m only human.” That’s our excuse for all our flaws and failings, “I’m only human.” Yet Craddock said that we need to reconsider that statement. The Bible says that we were created “a little lower than the angels.” (Ps. 8:6) We are the crown of God’s creation, made in His image. God sent His Son to die in our behalf.

Craddock suggested that whenever someone we know does something right or when someone commends us for doing something extremely well, we say, “After all, I’m human.” Because to be human is to be created in the image of God. As St. Paul says in Ephesians, “You are God’s workmanship.”[1] A profound thought: we are God’s workmanship. Never say, “I’m only…”          God did not make you for mediocrity.

No matter what your situation is, one thing a Christian should never say is, “I’m only such-and-such”. You are a child of God and the work of His hands. Put your trust in God and you can do more and be more than you ever dreamed possible.    
           
Prayer for Guidance
Direct us, O God, in all our doings with thy most gracious favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer, p. 832)

[1] Fred Craddock in Ten Great Preachers, edited by Bill Turpie; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000, p.45.
The Rev. John R. Bentley, Jr.
Pastoral Associate
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