It’s a Big World Out There
As for me, it is good to be near God (Psalm 73:28).
Until Rich and I became involved in the work of World Vision, I had a pretty limited perspective on the world around me, and if we’re being honest, I think that’s true of most Americans. We live in a world only as large as our personal experiences. And if the way I spend my time is any indication, I often act as if my world were only the size of the space between my house, the grocery store, the mall, and my church!
But the truth is, it’s a big world out there, and it can often feel like we’re a long way from what’s happening on the other side. We find it hard to imagine what it’s like for people living without clean water, accessible medical care, or a roof over their heads. And it can be a greater challenge to believe we have any role to play in making life better for those living on the edge. Our perspective is limited. We lack the big picture.
A similar situation faced the people Nehemiah recruited to restore the wall around Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:17-18). Finding the wall in ruins, he assigned families to rebuild only that section of the wall right in front of their own house. They couldn’t see what was going on around the curve, on the other side of the city, or even a hundred yards away.
However, they all knew there was one person who could see the big picture, one person who knew firsthand the progress that was being made. Every day Nehemiah traveled around the whole city to survey the work. If someone wasn’t working fast enough, or didn’t build straight enough, or had decided to change the style of the wall, Nehemiah took care of it. When men opposed the rebuilding of the wall, Nehemiah had a plan. When they stirred up trouble, he had a solution. Because the people trusted Nehemiah, they didn’t worry but instead continued to do the work he had assigned to them.
In the same way that the people of Jerusalem stayed connected to the rebuilding project by staying connected to Nehemiah, we can stay connected to God’s work in the world by staying connected to Him, by spending time in worship, in fellowship, in God’s Word, and in prayer.
E.M. Bounds, a nineteenth-century Methodist minister, wrote this: “The men who have most fully illustrated Christ in their character and have most powerfully affected the world for Him, have been men who spend so much time with God as to make it a notable feature in their lives.”
If you’re uncertain about your place in the work God is doing in the world, make sure you’re staying connected to Him. Are you willing to do what God puts right in front of you? Are worship and prayer and the reading of God’s Word notable features in your life? If so, then you can trust God for the big picture, knowing that He has a place for you to serve!
Excerpted from He Walks Among Us, a devotional book by Rich and Reneé Stearns, with photos by Jon Warren. (October 2013, Thomas Nelson).
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