- Rebuilding Ruins
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Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “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.” – Nehemiah 1:2-3
Nehemiah hears the answer to his question and is devastated about the condition of the people and Jerusalem. His concern goes beyond a surface concern. He weeps, mourns, fasts, and prays for days.
Nehemiah has a real burden for the people and their situation. Everything else that you read about in Nehemiah’s story started with this burden.
Just like with Nehemiah, I believe God puts a burden on the heart of every believer. I also believe that unless there is a burden, we will never be effective followers of Christ. A lot of ineffective work is done in churches because there is no burden on the heart of the people. I pray we are not one of them.
Nehemiah wept because of the ruins. In the same way, before we can ever hope to rebuild ruined lives in a ruined world, we first have to weep over those ruins.
Before the church can be effective:
- In children’s work…somebody has to weep over the fact that children in our community do not know Christ.
- In recovery…somebody has to weep over the fact that people need rescued from their hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
- In helping the community…somebody has to weep over the fact that people in our community are without food, clothing, and shelter.
- In global mission work…somebody has to weep over the living conditions, oppressive governments, and terror around the world.
A burden can only come by possessing God’s heart for a ruined world and its hurting people. That means you have to be close to God’s heart. You can’t have God’s heart if you are at a distance from God.
Only when our hearts are broken over the things that break the heart of God will we do what is right. Until that happens, we won’t.