|Working on my Nehemiah sermon, "Breaking Intimidation & the Fear of Man," |
in St. Arbucks in Monroe.
I was twenty-one, a new follower of Jesus, sitting in the pew of our Lutheran church on Sunday morning. I took the bulletin and saw a prayer request: "Please pray that our church would find a leader for our youth."
Next Sunday, the request was the same. I thought, "Our church needs a youth leader!" Now that Jesus had rescued me, I was understanding the need for spiritual mentors in my life.
I read the same request on next Sunday morning. And said to myself, and to God, "You are kidding, right?"
I became the new youth leader at Tabor Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois. My life would never be the same again.
The burden I felt was God's answer to the prayers of our pastor and people. This is how it is when you get burdened. Beware of the burden, because it is the calling of God on your life, often in response to someone's prayers.
Why would God give me a burden about this need just to get me under its heavy weight? How redemptive is that? Often, the burden is the call.
This is different from church people seeing a need or a problem and then giving advice to the pastor. "Pastor, our church should do this!" "Pastor, our church has a problem!"
Are you burdened by a problem? Then respond to God's call to step up and fill in the gap.
A burden is about a need. Why would God show you a need if he doesn't expect you to meet it? For that all we need to do is watch the daily news while sipping our lattes and experiencing a brief moment of concern.
Feeling sorry for others is not enough.
If you haven't felt God placing a burden for others on your heart, perhaps it's because God knows you won't do anything it about. Why would God give a burden to someone he knows will not respond?
The Burden is stage one of The Call.
Responding with "Yes, Lord," is stage two.
This will always be life-altering.
It won't get any better as we hear God say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
(Perhaps your church family is like mine, where many respond to God's call and serve in a multitude of ways.)
Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God
Leading the Presence-Driven Church