When a concern turns into vision
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor and the civil rights leader. He was a preacher’s son and actually he didn’t want to follow God’s ways. At a very early age he was able to attend college and eventually he was born again. He then realized God had called him to be a minister as well. He had a concern for his fellow African American people. He knew segregation was wrong. There were many incidents happening nation wide that completely broke his heart. This took him to India to learn how Gandhi did the non violent protests. He adopted this method and it was very successful as it was the start to the end of segregation.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
(Martin Luther King Jr)
Eventually he became a national hero and was able to gather thousands of people in 1963 where he gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.
IT STARTS WITH A CONCERN
Nehemiah’s role as a leader also started with a concern. Nehemiah was a Jew, he was cupbearer to the King. (This means he was like the prime minister today). So he was a very important person but as a man of God and a Jew, Jerusalem had special place in his heart.
“They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” (Nehemiah 1:3 NLT)
Although he had never been to Jerusalem in his life these news got to him. These were real facts: the people were called “survivors” which means that’s what they lived for, to just survive. They were constantly under attack and in great danger. A city with no walls means a a city with no protection and without anything valuable inside.
WHAT BREAKS YOUR HEART?
These news broke Nehemiah’s heart.
“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4 NIV)
Apparently he had a great position, a really good income. Why did this break his heart? Because his heart was with his people.
What is the condition in your house?
Maybe you left your loved ones…
Maybe you are alone in this country or in this city
Maybe you see injustice at your job or you have a passion to help people.
What makes you angry?
Nehemiah was angry that the people were treated horribly. His heart was with his people. This people were constantly attacked. Their only concern was to survive. They lived in fear. This is what took him to become a leader.
This is what led my mom into politics. She was a young woman just the pastor’s wife. One day she saw a self proclaimed witch announcing she was running for president. This got her really mad. She was like: “Where are the people who fear God?” If I need to become a politician to bring redemption to my country I will do it. This is what took her to become the first Christian senator in the Colombia.
BUT FIRST PRAY
Although Nehemiah could immediately go talk to the king. He was wise. He knew that it was smarter not to immediately act but to first pray. He didn’t yell. He didn’t go talk to the people under him. He sat down and wept. Nehemiah was going to do something about the city but first God had to do something in his heart. Nehemiah didn’t do a 5 minute prayer. It says that he prayed for days, and he was before God day and night. He prayed for repentance as if he had committed all of these sins. He humbled himself before God
MY PERSONAL STORY
Last year I went through something like this. I felt stuck. I was doing a lot of things, leading a lot of projects but felt that I wasn’t going anywhere. Have you felt like this? I have been in this city for more than 18 years. For the last 2 years God has brought a great compassion for this church. I was praying: “God you have called us to be your hands and feet, but what are we doing?” I knew that as a church something had to start in us before we could reach others. This led me to repentance for the bad leadership I was doing in the past. Like Nehemiah I seemed God, together with my husband we did a 3 day fast of just water, it was just for purpose. It was in that pursuit that I was led to find some books and eventually my mindset began to change. God brought clarity to my life in so many ways.
“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” Soren Kierkegaard
PRAYER LEADS TO VISION
After prayer Nehemiah knew he was the leader to do something about this terrible situation. This concern took him to pray, and fast and eventually it brought vision into his heart.
This concern brought a passion of what should be. He understood that he had to bring this issue to the king. And he knew he had to lead this project. Every vision starts as an idea
God’s vision for our lives isn’t about us but about others
When you understand that it’s not about you then your vision makes way more sense. If you have a vision of becoming a millionaire, and just living a good life then that’s not really a purpose. Nehemiah’s vision became clear when he knew God had called him to build the walls in order to protect God’s people.
This vision of what could be was the thing that took him to speak to the King. This was the thing that made him want to risk his life for a greater cause.
I believe God wants to bring you his vision. Just as Nehemiah start to think, what is my concern? What breaks my heart? Don’t act immediately but first seek God. He will show you what to do next.