Focal passage: Nehemiah 1:1-11
Pour out your heart to God in prayer. It was a dreary winter day, and as my friend walked out of a local store, he noticed a man trembling in the cold.
The man was dressed in a worn coat and held out a mug. My friend approached the man and compassionately tossed a few quarters into his cup.
Just like my friend, you and I encounter people with desperate needs every day. And at times, it can be challenging to discern how best to help to those who are hurting.
Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king of Persia, was used by God to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. His life also serves an example to us as we strive to minister to others in a way that honors God.
Like Nehemiah, we must first become aware of the needs around us. When visited by a messenger from Judah, Nehemiah asked for an update and learned that the people in Jerusalem were “in great trouble and disgrace” (Nehemiah 1:3). The wall surrounding the city had been demolished.
Like Nehemiah, after we become aware of a need, we must respond by acknowledging God and confessing our sin.
After learning of the trouble in Jerusalem, Nehemiah “sat down and wept” (Nehemiah 1:4).
He also confessed his own sin as well as the sins and corruption that had resulted in the exile of the Jewish people.
Like Nehemiah, we must to look to God for guidance before taking steps of action. Before doing anything, Nehemiah asked that the Lord would be attentive. He prayed, “Give your servant success today, and have compassion on him” (Nehemiah 1:11).
When my friend tossed his coins into the man’s cup, hot coffee splashed onto his face.
The man wasn’t begging for assistance; he was merely sipping a warm drink and waiting for his ride.
Just like my friend, it can be easy for us to help out of good intentions without ever stopping to seek God.
Instead of rushing to serve, let’s be a people who prepare our hearts first, by seeking God’s guidance through confession and prayer.