relentless pursuit


The Passage: Nehemiah 1:1-4

The Point: What burdens you?

It was REALLY hot – South Florida in the middle of summer hot. I sat outside at a café with my brother as sweat streamed, but I wasn’t thinking about the heat. I was captured by my brother’s brokenness over what was happening with a family member. The burden was evident in his eyes. The anguish he felt was not caused by himself, but by something he deeply cared about…his family. Similarly, Nehemiah’s narrative starts with a burden for his family. Before he jumps off the couch to pray, plan, and proceed to do what God calls him to do, he had to feel the pain. It was just another routine day like we all have, but don’t miss it. Like large doors, life-changing events often swing on small hinges. It was through a small conversation that a large calling came.

Nehemiah’s burden was for God’s people and God’s city. Jerusalem was not just disarmed, but now she was on her own. The city walls were destroyed, and the people were left vulnerable. When Nehemiah heard the news, he was 800 miles from the action, but that didn’t minimize his empathy. What are you burdened for? This can be a difficult question to answer, but let’s think about it this way. We know Nehemiah was burdened by the way he reacted. We saw his DESIRES by his DECISIONS. Let us, too, examine our actions so we can know what burdens our hearts. We can do that with two observations from Nehemiah.

First observation: Nehemiah was so burdened that when he saw his brother he asked about it. Discussion exposed his desire. Our conversations and questions expose our deepest desires and burdens. Second observation: when Nehemiah was given INFORMATION, it led to TRANSFORMATION. It caused him to mourn, fast, pray, and do whatever it took. He took responsibility for what was happening. We live in a society that’s stuffed with information yet starved of transformation. Nehemiah was burdened so much that it changed the way he lived. How about you?


  • What kind of questions are you asking? What do your conversations look like on a regular day?
  • What do those questions and conversations tell you about your burdens and desires?
  • How do your desires and God’s desires compare?


    • Are any of your conversations or actions not bringing God glory?
    • What do you need to do?
    • Whom do you need to tell?
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