Saturday, February 1, 2014

(40 Days of Focus) Day 28: "For this Cause"

Read: The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 11:2, NIV).
Think About It: With every passing week she is dedicated to arrive at the church whose people have become her extended family. The parking lot is empty and reflects the absence of laughter, conversations, and the evidence of people living life together. She unlocks the doors and enters a building that will be her “home alone” for the next several hours. She opens the closet where all she needs to make the most of the time ahead awaits for her faithful hands to guide them. Though somewhat compensated for her efforts, she joyfully meanders through the building as though  it is her personal canvas that she will artfully create a masterpiece that is signed by her own spirit of excellence. She goes above and beyond the call of duty. Once, when asked why she does so much, she responded with shimmering eyes, a brightened smile and a glimpse of the glory of God. “Because I believe in what God’s doing here. This is how I can help. If I do this, then others can concentrate on the gifts that God has given them.” She was convinced that what she did, though out of the lime-light and the eye-sight of many, made a difference. Her loving and surrendered efforts contributed to a great cause that she believed in. It wasn’t really about what she could do. It was about how God could use it to show the love of Jesus to those who could be changed just like her.

Going Deeper: Jerusalem had laid in ruins for many years. Only in recent times, as the accounts of Ezra and Nehemiah detail, were the exiles of the once honored city allowed to return. The people yearned with a desperate longing to see the return of God’s glory to the city that had turned from Him and had been reduced to the scorn of the region. As they endeavored to see the city that had once housed the likeness of King David rise from the ashes, they became increasingly aware of the work that was before them. Rebuilding the city was not a welcome sentiment to all that resided in the surrounding area. There were many who sought to deter the resurrection of this “City of God.” Threats were made and attacks were undoubtedly schemed. Those just willing to be involved were no longer adequate. What was needed was devotion, a certain amount of risk, and a dedicated commitment to the cause. Volunteers stepped forward to take up residence in a city that had become centered in the crosshairs of the opposition. The cause must always be bigger than the one who carries it. The cause will take you beyond your comfort, past your convenience, and into a covenant that is focused on seeing the cause completed. 

Next Step: Have you ever thought that what you do or could be doing is bigger than the “job” or “ministry” itself? Learn to see that what you do is for much more than a church or an area in a church. Let whatever you set your hands to do be motivated by furthering the cause of Christ. Take a moment to ponder this thought? “How am I allowing ‘what I can do’ to be used by God?” “How does this, or can this, contribute to the greater cause of seeing the lives of others changed by gift of Jesus?

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