SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING
Have you ever had that feeling in life that something is just not okay? Call it unrest. Call it a stirring. But whatever you call it, it always leads to this thought: “Someone ought to do something!” This is where it all started for Nehemiah.
This past Sunday we launched a new series on work called “Sticking it to the Man.” Certainly we intend to draw out truths in this series that will make you a better employee, boss and co-worker. But the truths contained in Nehemiah are so much richer than that.
Nehemiah is a phenomenal representation of what it often feels like in life to see an injustice, but feel helpless to do anything about it. Nehemiah gets word that Jerusalem is still lying in rubble decades after the Jews returned home from exile. But what could he do? He was the king’s cupbearer from hundreds of miles away. He wasn’t even a Jew! And yet he couldn’t stop thinking about it, and he was overwhelmed by the injustice.
My guess is there is something like that in your life. Leave the workplace analogies behind right now, because this is bigger than that. Is there an injustice that you see around you that makes you feel angry, hopeless and helpless? Something you wish someone would do something about?
What if you’re the someone?
Dr. J. Vernon McGee wrote on this and I stumbled upon his writing, so all credit goes to him on what follows. Dr. McGee reminds us that often we think we aren’t the person to institute any type of change, whether that change be confronting a social injustice or discipling something through the Discipleship Pathway. But the story of Nehemiah unpacks that lie. Dr. McGee makes the following observations about what Nehemiah teaches us:
1. A “Call to Ministry” is not required. Truthfully, the idea of full-time ministry as a career is a fairly new idea. The original understanding was that every believer was called to ministry, it was just a matter of what they were called to. Nehemiah wasn’t a pastor. He had a great government job in Persia. What business does the cupbearer to the king of Persia have in Israel’s affairs. None! Unless he is called.
2. Prayer is the first step. Nehemiah’s life was characterized by laying a foundation in prayer. In this short book, we read 14 of his prayers. Before he started out on the project, he prayed. When he approached the king, first he prayed. When he was in trouble, he prayed. Whatever God’s calling, it’s bigger than you. You need to pray first, pray continually and pray about everything.
3. Ask God to Give you His Heart. And in a way, He already has! If you are sensing the injustice of a situation in our world, that sense of injustice is a reflection of God’s heart. Lean into that. Pray that God breaks your heart for what breaks His heart. Then when He does it, chase that thing. Surrender yourself to that call.
4. God Leads Different People in Different Ways. Your call is not the same as my call. God is not going to lead us all to the same thing. Sometimes you won’t be able to understand how people care about the things they do and why they don’t care about the thing that breaks your heart. It’s okay! Be thankful they are leaning into their call instead of choosing to do nothing. Don’t try to imitate someone else’s call or passions. Follow the ones God puts on your heart.
5. God sees you. Nehemiah’s work wasn’t easy, but God was with Him. That’s what made the difference. One day you will stand before God and He will ask you what you did with what He gave you- and He won’t just be talking about money. One of the things He has entrusted you with is your calling and your passions. When you stand before your Heavenly Father, will you be able to answer that you stewarded that calling well?
There’s a lot broken in the world! Somebody ought to do something!
How about you?