Monday, November 7, 2011

Loving My Community

"As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it"
(Luke 19:41).

Compassion is a powerful thing.  We are moved by stories and pictures that open our eyes to an awareness of human struggle and suffering.  Our heart strings are connected to our purse strings and we give because we connect with a need that is greater than who we are.

Recently, I led a team into the second largest city in the United Kingdom.  We partnered with an incredible and growing church who has such a heart of compassion for their city.  We themed our joint venture "LovingBirmingham."  The entire time together was about a heart for a city filled with people that need the love of Jesus.  The week was powerfully filled with instances that were fulfillment of the joint goal we had set.  But, as I was there, and as I have been to other countries and other places since then, I began to think of something that continues to transform my heart and my thinking.  Do I ache for my own community as I do for those around the world?  Have I grown so use to the routine of my American culture of materialism, instant gratification, and the "american dream" that I am only affected by that which is in places unfamiliar to me?  Yes, we are to have a heart for the world around us, but never at the cost of ignoring the world right in front of us.

The closer Jesus got to the city that was overwhelming with potential, purpose, prophecy, and promise, He was overwhelmed with great emotion.  He was who they were now, and what they had become, but also who they could have been and were still yet to be.  He wept over the city.  He poured His heart out in regards to the people.  He cried aloud.  His passion and burden for this city was not secret, nor was it silent.  He refused to hold it in.  His love was loud.

When you drive in your city or in your community, or when you pull into your own neighborhood, are you ever overwhelmed with emotion for its potential, its purpose, or its people?  Do you have vision for what God can do in your own neighborhood?  Begin, even more than ever, to ask God for a greater vision and passion for your city, your community, your workplace, or your school.  Cry aloud!  Make your heart known and continue to be a presence of His presence, and an influence for the purpose of God.  If you want to see a change, be willing to be a part of that change.  Now, that's loving your community!