Let me explain where I am going with this.
preach to his people, Judah.
From a human perspective this seems unnecessary. Why would God call Jeremiah as his prophet if He knew that no matter what he said it wouldn't change a thing in Judah's heart? Why all the preaching, crying (A whole short book records this: Lamentations.) and suffering for Jeremiah knowing well what the result would be? In our own eyes, Jeremiah was a failure. He didn't produce positive results. He didn't win any converts. He was too melancholic. If Jeremiah would have applied for a job in today's world, he wouldn't get one. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous but the more I read The Bible I see that what we call success is not necessarily what God sees as success. Put in it in other words, God's plans and ways don't conform to our own standards. They never will.
But Jeremiah was obedient. He preached. For a long time (But he doesn't hold the record. Noah holds this, 100 years or close to that. See Genesis 5:32 and 7:11. Interestingly enough Noah wasn't too successful in human terms. His warnings about the coming flood were rejected. He was only able to rescue his own family). He was faithful to God. Now that is what matters in God's eyes. This is exactly what should matter to us: to be faithful to God in our calling as His children. To be obedient to Him. We may not measure up to what our culture calls "successful," but in the end this doesn't really matter.
I often think about my life as I have passed my 40th year (now 42) that I haven't done much for God. But as I read Jeremiah I realize that what I think I must do for God is not the same as what God wants for me. What I should strive for is to be obedient to Him. To know Him. To follow Him.
In the prayer to St. Richard of Chichester we should say:
"O holy Jesus,
most merciful Redeemer,
Friend, and Brother:
may we know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly,
day by day."
Lord, align my thoughts with your thoughts
My ways with your ways
That I may please you in everything I do
And from you never stray.