Decide to care
When we see an Ananda Alert for a missing child, how do we respond? Sometimes we choose not to care and not to allow our hearts to engage because our own children are safe – not even offering up a prayer. Nehemiah was a little like us. He worked in a cushy job in a developed country, lived well, ate royal food and had no troubles in the world, but God wanted to use Nehemiah. One day, God engaged Nehemiah’s heart and he responded: “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. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.” Nehemiah 1:3-4a (NIV).
Doing something as simple as deciding to care, can make a difference. When we reason what it’s going to cost us to get involved, we may stand on the sidelines but it’s going to cost us a lot more when we do that. Romans 5:5 (NLT) tells us that God “… has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” We need to sign on with what God is doing so that He can operate through us, and not allow ourselves to be paralysed by feeling overwhelmed, or by the enemy convincing us not to do anything.
Once we decide to care, God will begin opening us up to His anointing and favour. In Nehemiah chapter 2, when the king saw his face, God opened the king’s heart to him. Everything Nehemiah wanted, the king gave him. God is looking for people who will allow themselves to act on His leading so that He can anoint, appoint, and show them favour. We must decide to care and be a blessing to others.
Please note that Nehemiah didn’t attempt change alone, he enlisted the help of others. After Nehemiah had gone out and examined the wall, and assessed what God wanted him to do, he met with the people. “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins … Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem…” Nehemiah 2:17 (NIV). Nehemiah needed others. The task was big and although God had raised him up to do the work as a catalyst of change, he couldn’t do it alone.
His fellow citizens had to catch hold of the vision, the plan of God and sign on to it. We’re called to love the persons we encounter and to let them see God in and through our lives. There’s a generation of persons who’ve never had anybody tell them that they’re valuable, made in God’s image or that He loves them. God is calling us to speak words of hope, love, and conviction to a nation that’s desperate to hear it.
This is the day of going out to call the lost, when Christians must be on the move in the world to share the powerful word of grace and good news of Jesus Christ. We must reach out to others and if we can’t do anything else, we need to tell them through our words and actions that God loves them.
John Calvin, the great reformer, said: “Build a man a fire, and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.” Our words right now will not only help somebody catch fire, but could save a life and start someone on the journey to eternity.