At the end of last year, I was searching around for an apartment. I only had two criteria for where I was going to live: it had to be safe and cheap. I didn’t care about amenities or being in the fanciest apartment, safe and cheap fit the bill for me. After reading Nehemiah 11, I’m really glad that I didn’t have to choose my apartment based on how the leaders of Jerusalem selected where they were going to live.
“Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 11:1-2 (ESV)
It was a huge honor to be selected to live and lead in the holy city of Jerusalem. But it was also a truly terrifying place to be. I probably would’ve been pretty hesitant about living in Jersusalem and wouldn’t have volunteered as tribute for this particular assignment.
It’s so easy for us to think that the things God calls us to do are easy, but it’s usually the exact opposite. A lot of the time, the things God calls us to do are hard and uncomfortable and sometimes terrifying, but they are absolutely worth it. Like when we forgive someone who has hurt us or we open up again after being rejected. Choosing vulnerability in spite of pain or stepping out in faith in the midst of uncertainty are some of the most difficult things that we can do in life.
What I so love about these verses is that the people blessed those who were willing to step up and do the hard things. I wonder how many of us do that today? When we see someone doing something hard and of God, how do we react? Do we join in and help? Do we pray for them and encourage them on? Or do we critique and tear down?
Sometimes God doesn’t call us to move to a third-world country and serve the people there, sometimes he tasks us with praying and encouraging and even funding those who do go. He doesn’t call all of us to lead churches or ministries, but we can support those who are doing that hard thing. Our willingness to go, fund, encourage, pray for, support, and help can all make a major difference in the lives of others. I wonder how our willingness to do the big and seemingly little things can make a difference in the lives of others around us.
What hard thing is God calling you to in this season?
How can you intentionally pray for, encourage, or support those who have stepped out in faith today?