The prophet Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.” Perhaps if we wept a bit more over the lost souls who are staggering toward Hell, we would be compelled to do more to rescue them.
What I love about Jeremiah is his identification with lost humanity. God called Jeremiah to be His prophet, so if anyone could have the opportunity to feel special or superior, it might be Jeremiah. But when the prophet heard about the approaching judgment, he called the residents of Jerusalem my people. Did you get that: MY people.
Not only did he call them my people, but his heart broke for them:
- My heart is faint within me (Jer. 8:18)
- I am crushed (8:21a)
- I mourn… horror grips me (8:21b)
- I weep day and night (9:1)
- I weep and wail and take up a lament (9:10)
In Soul Work, Randy Harris has a passage that has been pounding on my heart —
Why don’t we cancel all those [church] meetings and make a field trip to the laundromat and the bars and the streets and listen to what makes sinners tick until we love them. I don’t mean try to convert anybody; I mean listen to them until we love them. Listen until we find ourselves in them. Listen to what they’re afraid of, listen to what they hope for, listen to what hurts, until we love them. And then we can try to be the church again. (emphasis added)
Or as C.T. Studd famously said:
Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell;
I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of Hell.