Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” 4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
In seminary I had the privilege of being able to go on a mission trip to Brazil with a few colleagues. The mission was us sailing along the Amazon River and taking the Gospel to different villages along the river. What a trip it was! We saw countless come to Christ and many lives changed.
On one of the last days of the trip, myself and the seminary professor who I was partnered with in going out to share were finishing up sharing in one of the villages when the professor noticed a house a good distance away that we hadn’t visited. He was determined to get to the house and share so he and I trekked over and I watched him engage the man who lived in the house there with the Gospel. The man became a Christian that day! See, my professor was so burdened for the Amazon community that he was driven to trek that long distance and share the Gospel with one more person. His burden for the lost moved him, compelled him to action.
We see in Nehemiah 1 of a man who possessed the same kind of burden for a people. Nehemiah is living his life as a cupbearer for the king in a foreign land due to his people the Jews being exiled. Life is good for him as the occupation he has is somewhat lucrative, but he hears the news about his hometown Jerusalem in shambles. The walls are down, and those who were still living there were left vulnerable to other enemies who lived around them. The situation was just terrible and the current situation in which Nehemiah’s people were in broke him. When he received the news from his brother, in verse 4 it says he cried. He was so burdened for those people that he responded by prayer and fasting for the Lord to provide an opportunity for him to be a part of the solution to the issue at hand.
Hey friend, when was the last time you have been burdened for someone? Whether it was your neighbor who is lost and needs Christ, or that fellow believer who you know is hurting and in need of encouragement/prayer. When is the last time you have been so burdened for a people that it led you to your knees in prayer for them and ways to reach/minister to them.
What often is the reasoning for us not having a burden for those around us is our focus on ourselves. With the busyness of life and all the responsibilities we possess, from being parents to working jobs to provide, we can get so preoccupied that we essentially blind ourselves from seeing the world around us as Christ sees them (2 Corinthians 5:16). The reality is that there are people all around us who are broken and hurting, needing to be ministered to. That ought to give us a burden to pray for them and move us to action. This morning, choose to set your eyes on Jesus, asking Him to give you vision to see those who are in need, and a burden to pray and minister to them!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, thank you for your love for me. Today help me to get my eyes off of myself and onto You. Give me vision to see those who are broken and hurting all around me and the burden to pray for and minister to them. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
The wicked flee when trouble pursues, but the righteous are as bold as lions.