With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please Your Majesty, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” So the king agreed, and I set a date for my departure. (Nehemiah 2:4b,5,6b NLT)
For the past eight years my wife and I have taken a trip. Some trips are leisurely excursions for the purpose of pleasure, relaxation, or getting away from the cold northerly climate. Other trips are for the purpose of serving the Lord. Our trips were a combination of both. We called them “working vacations.” During the work week we did volunteer ministry with Wycliffe Associates and Campus Crusade for Christ. On the weekends we enjoyed the warm beaches and sights.
Nehemiah’s journey was a Trip with a Purpose. When the report reached him that the returnees from captivity in Jerusalem were in great trouble and disgrace he sat down and wept. For days he mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. He confessed his sins and the sins of the people, and pleaded with God to hear his prayers. He asked, “Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it in his heart to be kind to me.” (1:11)
Prayer has a way of helping us isolate the problem and put things in proper perspective. When we take our problems and needs of others to the Lord, he reveals a course of action and shows us how we can get involved. The Lord has chosen to work through his people.
When I read of Nehemiah’s great compassion for his people, I have to ask myself. How concerned am I about the needs of others, the church, my family, my colleagues, and my neighbors? Like Nehemiah, do I sit down and weep? Am I willing to confess my sins, and plead with God to hear my prayers? Do I go to Him boldly and ask for grace to help in time of need? (Hebrews 4:16)
Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem with a sense of urgency and passion. The walls needed to be built and the temple project protected from outside adversaries. He got personally involved, and put his energy to the task. Are we willing to get involved? It may be as simple as making a phone call, sending a note of encouragement, visiting a shut-in, or we might be called upon to mentor a new disciple, teach a class, participate in Awana, or join a mission team. Regardless of where we go, or what we do, we will be fulfilling our passion as a servant of the Lord.
Thought for the Day: God is looking for ordinary people to do extraordinary service.
Prayer: Dear Lord, speak to my heart, and give me the compassion to get involved in your work.