Nehemiah was a Jewish man in servitude in a foreign land. His position was an important one: cupbearer to the king. One day, men came to visit him from Israel and Nehemiah asked about the condition of the land and the situation of the people who still lived there. Chapter one, verse three tells us about the response:
“And they said to me, ‘The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.'”
Upon hearing this news, Nehemiah had the following response:
Verse 4: “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah was of Jewish descent but he was not born in Israel. He was born in Persia, during the exile. He had not been a part of the issues that had caused God to turn over the Israelites to their enemies. Yet, when he heard of the condition of the land and the people, something inside of him was moved; his heart was touched with compassion for the condition of the people and the land.
What touches your heart? Does anything touch your heart?
Today, so many people get absorbed in what my first pastor used to call, “us four and no more” – completely caught up in what is going on in their own world. While your personal world is important, I have also learned that self absorption is a sure recipe for unhappiness. Until you get moved by something “bigger” than yourself and your personal situation, important perspective that is the key to contentment is lost.
Have you ever gotten stuck in constant introspection? I have. After a while, it gets so depressing! You can “crawl around in your own belly button” until you get lost! Looking outside of yourself is where you find something that moves you toward balance and purpose.
Nehemiah was a man whose heart was touched by the plight of a land – a people. Through this “touch”, he found a purpose that was bigger than himself. I don’t know how qualified a cupbearer is to repair cities and institute national reforms, but he didn’t allow this barrier to keep him from his quest to rebuild Jerusalem. He moved forward; trusting that God would provide everything he needed to accomplish the task ahead. Because of his passion, we know his story and it inspires others to take the risk to act upon what is moving in their heart.
Are you touched by the plight of the poor and struggling? Or maybe you are touched by the challenges of folks in the Sudan or Syria?
Whatever moves you, find a way to get in touch with it! Be a part of the solution in some form or fashion! Don’t allow destructive “self -talk” to convince you that you don’t have the time or the wherewithal to help. Nehemiah didn’t allow his tears on behalf of Jerusalem to go to waste. He took action; got out of his “comfort zone” and went to someone else’s neighborhood to make a difference.
In what “neighborhood” does your heart reside? The inner city? The orphanage in town? The nursing facility? The hospital? The local school? The pregnancy help center? The refugee camps of Sudan?
God has touched your heart for this area for a reason: He intends to use you to bring His glory and love to the people of that place!
Want to be happy?
Allow God to use the GPS system of your heart to position you for a greater purpose! Fulfillment, pain, excitement, and joy all await you there. Absent these ingredients, is life really worth the effort?
I hear the call of God:
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah 6:8
Break my heart with the things that break your heart, Lord!
Here am I, send me!!!!