Wednesday, April 27, 2011
When I lived in Tampa Florida, I was going to a church that was growing, but had no ministry to the young marrieds of the church. Every Sunday we would go and see all these young couples with no structure to help them on their new journey in marriage. I came to the pastor and asked about starting a young marrieds sunday school class and he said it would be fine, but there were no rooms available. I suggested outside under a tree and he agreed. We set up chairs and 25 couples came that first Sunday. It was the start of God building a burden within my wife and I to reach out to marriages and families with their trials and difficulties to equip them for enriching marriages.
I was reading the book of Nehemiah and was struck with the wisdom that he had in dealing with various kinds of crisis in his life. Nehemiah was the son of Hakaliah and was living in the citadel of Susa. He had been exiled with some of his Israelite people and over time got a job of being the cupbearer to the King Artaxerxes. The cupbearer position was a very important job as the cupbearer would taste all drinks before being given to the king. If there was any poison in the drinks, the cupbearer would die and not the king.
During this time he was the cupbearer for the King, one of his brothers and some friends had come from Judah where Nehemiah had been exiled. Nehemiah asked his brother and his friends about the status of the people back in the homeland and the status of the city. They replied, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” (Neh. 1:3) When Nehemiah heard the report from his brother, Hanani, he wept and mourned and fasted and prayed for many days. His heart was broken to hear about his people, his relatives, his friends, his city.
When God wants us for His work, one of the first steps in His call on our lives is a broken heart for a group of people he wants us to work with. Nehemiah’s heart was broken not just for a moment when he heard about his people, but the more he thought about their situation, the more it affected his life and consumed everything he thought about and prayed about.
What group is it for you that you have been burdened for? Abused children? Abused mothers? Alcoholics? Lost children? Pregnant teenagers? Marriages in trouble? Teens in trouble? Infants? The elderly? When you hear of a particular group and the problems that they are facing, do you find your heart breaking? One of the first steps in God calling a person to a particular ministry or mission in life is giving that person a burden for what they want to do.
On this journey, finding a purpose in life and a passion for what you do makes every step you take worthwhile but it will start with a broken heart.