Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Every day, the media is filled with similar reports to the news Nehemiah received. Whether international conflict, political chaos, local crime, or an unstable market—it seems like we will never run out of bad news. For the most part, we’ve become desensitized to it, and are typically more surprised when we actually hear good news. However, there are certain stories that, for some reason or another, seem to grab our hearts more than others. Whatever it is—injustice, poverty, education, abuse, or something else—we can’t shake the feeling it stirs within us, and we feel led to action.
These feelings, or passions, are given to us by God. Similar to our gifts and influence, our passions can be catalysts for us to serve others and share God’s love with them. Just like our gifts, our passions vary from those around us, which is according to the way God designed us individually. Even when it comes to serving within the church, some of us have a natural pull towards guests, kids, students, missions, or care ministries.
For Nehemiah, news of conflict wasn’t anything new, but his response is what set him apart. While others either shrugged it off or began immediately thinking of a “fix,” Nehemiah felt the brokenness of the situation. From the empathy and passion he felt, he was able to lead differently than anyone around him. Ultimately, he was able to see an incredible collision of passion, gifts, and opportunities that led to a history-changing moment for those around him.
For you, the things that stir you aren’t just a coincidence. They’ve been entrusted to you by a creative God who hard-wired you to serve others.
Thought of the day: What are some of the things you’re most passionate about? What type of problems do you daydream about fixing in the world?
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for the passions You have given me and for the unique way You designed me. Give me the eyes to see the ways I can use my passions to serve those around me.