Monday, July 10, 2017

Wholehearted Seeking

UV 2314/10000 Wholehearted Seeking
When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel
Nehemiah 2 v 10
There is a difference between wishful seeking and wilful seeking. Wilful seeking is seeking wholeheartedly. It is setting our minds and our faces like flint towards the goal we want to achieve. Wishful seeking fails even before we start. Whatever we seek wholeheartedly, we can and will accomplish. The planning process is thorough and uncompromising. The execution likewise is thorough and uncompromising. Principles undergird the planning process as well as the execution process. Wholehearted seeking implies that we believe no half truths, adopt no half measures but go the whole hog, leaving no stone unturned to accomplish the task we set for ourselves. Nehemiah was a man whom God had raised up as a cupbearer to the emperor Xerxes. He had the favour of the king. He could have just stayed in his comfort zone enjoying the perks of office. But, he moved into a challenge zone- that of seeking the welfare of Jerusalem and that of the children of Israel. We too need to seek the welfare of the people, the city and the country we are called to serve. Nehemiah surveyed the ruins of the walls of Jerusalem to find out what needs to be done. We too need to survey the spiritual walls or boundaries of the city and the country we serve and then resolve to communicate to the people what needs to be done as Nehemiah did. He was willing to face any threat, pay any cost, do all that was needed to achieve his objective. In one word, the difference between Nehemiah and other nobles or leaders of the Jews of the time was commitment.
The hand of the Lord was upon Nehemiah to prosper him in the task he undertook on behalf of the welfare of the people. The hand of the Lord will be upon us, too as we undertake to do what the Lord has called us to do. Nehemiah’s intention and actions did antagonise certain persons and forces who combined against him for example, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah, the Ammonite. They mocked his plans and laughed at him. They attributed motives to his actions. But Nehemiah was confident of the mission he had set out to do. He did not worry about the innuendos and insults, the barbed comments and criticisms, the threats and intimidation but just went ahead and did. He was undeterred and went ahead to execute his plan with energy, alacrity and due diligence and caution. The letters of support from the king gave his intention and actions legitimacy. But he knew at the bottom of his heart that it was the Lord who had caused the king to look upon his petition with favour. He gave all credit and thanksgiving to the Lord God of Israel. He rallied the people around his goal of re-building the walls of Jerusalem.

We need to be burdened about the falling down of the spiritual boundaries of the people we are called to serve. Nehemiah felt it so deeply that he wept as he prayed over his concern for Israel and Jerusalem. Love for people, compassion, true patriotism should move us to such a sense of empathy with the pain of our people. We need to survey the task area and take pragmatic steps to undo the damage, to re-build the ruins. The task area may be false or wrong doctrine or practices or persecution and attacks by hostile elements. As we pray, the Lord can even turn our persecutors into our chief benefactors and supporters as it happened with Moses where the nearest kin of the one issuing an edict to kill all Hebrew male babies adopted him and brought him up in the palace of Pharaoh. We need to only seek the welfare of people wholeheartedly and earnestly and we will find the way we can serve them as well as the wherewithal to do so.

Prateep V Philip

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