This week at My City Church, we kicked of our brand-new Vision Builders series! Encounter all God has done through our church in 2018, and the vision we have for what God wants to do in 2019!
by EmmyLou Bates
“That’s not my problem.” How many times have you heard this phrase? How many times today did you say it yourself? Was it when you were driving to work and saw the homeless man on the corner with a sign asking for money for food? Maybe it happened at the office when a coworker asked for help in meeting her deadline. It can slip of off the tongue as easily as the air we exhale. After all, we all have places to be, jobs to attend, families to support. The list is endless and we are all just trying to put as many mental check marks next to it as we can. In our endeavors to be fruitful we all seek a vision that will elevate us into the next position of life. We see our finances growing, flashes of early retirement, family vacations in Hawaii, and our names written on bright lights as we hit stardom. The clearer though that our vision becomes the more we spiral into tunnel vision with no time to stop along the way. However, the problem with tunnel vision is, that without intervention, it can make you go blind.
This Sunday’s message was centered around Nehemiah 1: 3-11.
When looking at this passage of scripture we learned about a man named Nehemiah who was in despair when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had become broken and the people worshiping God there were being harassed because they no longer had a force of protection surrounding them. When Nehemiah learns of this he became upset and entered a state of fasting and prayer. Burdened by this, he went into Jerusalem with the vision that he was going to fix what was destroyed, and fifty-two days later the walls were rebuilt.
Nehemiah wasn’t hesitant or complacent.
He was quick to make someone else’s problem his problem and that is because he was seeing through God’s eyes instead of his own. One of the key elements in the passage wasn’t just that Nehemiah heard terrible news and was quick to act on it, but it was that he turned to God in prayer when he felt pained. From there he was able to put on the glasses of God to see the vision of what he needed to do.
In life, how many times have we all been pained and chose the wrong solution because we didn’t see God in the problem? Instead all that was seen was that we’ve been hurt, rejected, broken down, and left out on the curb like trash. The problem is though, that even with twenty-twenty sight there’s only so far ahead that man-kind can see. We become focused on ourselves in the vision that we forget that God’s sight is global. We’re quick to get angered and say, “God, why me?!” when life takes a turn in a direction that we didn’t want to go. Pastor Jesse stated on Sunday, “God allows problems in our lives so we can experience breakthrough from the power of prayer.”
If I’m to be honest, when I heard this my first thought was, “it’s a beautiful sentiment pastor, but I’d really just like to avoid the problems from the start none the less”. A few minutes later during Pastor Jesse’s message it was like he heard the challenge from my thoughts and stated, “We need to embrace challenges and problems. Moving forward means embracing pain and problems because during this process we get vision.”
My next thoughts were as simple as one word: “what?!” followed by, “so, let me get this straight. Not only am I supposed to embrace problems, but I’m basically supposed to welcome them into my life? Pastor might be losing it.” Once again, Pastor Jesse continued to respond to the mental argument occurring by breaking it down in saying,
And with that simple statement it was game, set, match. As far as human nature goes, flight or fight is an intrinsic reaction that we have little to no control over. The idea of embracing and welcoming problems into my life has the response of flight written all over it for me. The reaction though of flight or fight gets triggered when we sense danger and become afraid, but do we really have to be afraid if we know that God is with us? See, the enemy wants us to be afraid. Fear and doubt are potent weapons in his arsenal and he wants to hit you hard with them. He thrives on implanting fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of heartbreak. He wants you to doubt your abilities, skills, knowledge, and talents so he can hinder your ability to use them. How many of us experience this every day and because of it we fail to act? I’d be a liar If I didn’t answer by raising my hand too. The truth of the matter though is that fear and doubt don’t hold any power if we place it against the might of God, so why should we allow it the liberty of controlling our lives and choices?
So, the next time we see a problem instead of thinking, “that’s not my problem,” let us change it to, “I will be the answer.” When we turn to God and can see His vision we can also see His solutions. It may be scary and a little uncomfortable, but God has chosen you to be burdened because you possess the talents, skills, knowledge, and resources to enact the vision. Each day we have the chance to build God’s vision by giving, serving, and praying. The only thought left to address is, “are you ready to build?”