Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

33. The Sacrifice of Service – Part 2

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Nehemiah 11:1-2

Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

As we continue to look at moving out of our comfort zones we see the sacrifice involved. These people had to move from the country to the city, give up their way of life, everything that they knew and were comfortable with. Like them we can have a lot of excuses for not going. Sometimes we are just lazy, and we don’t want to lead. Notice that verse 3 starts with a list of leaders who answered the call. What kind of leadership legacy are you going to leave, one of comfort or conviction? Many of us are mouthing the message we are just not modeling the message. We are buying into a culture that craves comfort. As a result, we are teaching and training our children that comfort not conviction is the most important aspect of being a Christian. But Christ didn’t call us to a life of comfort but one of commitment. We have seen our country go from men and women willing to sacrifice for their country and storm the beaches of Normandy to one where we curl up in a ball and cry if things get uncomfortable. We have gone from soldiers that sacrifice to snowflakes that are selfish. But another reason that we don’t go is that we don’t feel qualified, that we are not good enough. But if there is one thing that this passage teaches us it’s that it’s not about your past or our pedigree. Two of the tribes mentioned are Judah and Benjamin. These two tribes really have a checkered past. At least one of Judah’s children was born of incest (Perez) who went on to became known as one of the mightiest warriors in the nation and is also mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-3. The tiny tribe of Benjamin also had a record of sexual sins, including rampant homosexuality. From Benjamin came two Saul’s, one the first king in Israel; the other Saul later had his name changed to Paul. After Saul was converted, he went on to start churches all over the known world and wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else. Two tribes with terrible pedigrees that God used for His purposes despite their checkered past. Some of you may have gotten a rough start like Judah and Benjamin. But starts are only that, because it’s not so much about how you begin but how you finish that counts! Look God is not interested in your pedigree, where you got your start, who your Daddy might be, or what degrees and honors you hold. God is not hung up on your history, He cares about your heart. It’s time to stop letting your history hold you back from serving the Savior. If God only ever used perfect people, there would be no great stories of faith. We have a God who can blot out our blemishes and bind up what is broken. Yet right now there is a voice in your mind that wants to argue with this truth, a voice that wants to tell you that you have gone too far, that your sin is bigger than the Savior, that your messes are bigger than His mercy. But no matter how much you have failed, God’s grace says that you are fixable. If you don’t believe me then take a look at some of the messes that God moved through:

Noah was a drunk that God used.

Abraham was a chronic liar and God used him.

Sarah was a liar who laughed at God’s promise, and God used her.

Jacob was a manipulator and liar and God used him.

Moses was a murderer who had a major problem with anger, and God used him.

Rahab was a prostitute and a liar, and God used her.

Samson was in essence, a selfish sex-addict and God still used him.

David was an adulterer, a murderer, and a failure as a father, and God used him.

Jonah was an angry servant who disobeyed God, threw temper tantrums and spent more time pouting than preaching but God still used him.

The Apostle Peter received divine revelation that Jesus Christ was the son of God (Matthew 16:16-17), but turned around and became an adversary, speaking for the devil, and trying to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His mission to the point that Jesus had to rebuke him (Matthew 16:22-23). He went on to deny Jesus three times, yet God still used him mightily to encourage, teach, heal, minister to, lead and grow the early church. He wrote books in the New Testament, and His writings continue to help us grow as Christians to this today. Are you letting comfort or conviction control your life? Are you giving in to laziness or are you holding back because you feel inadequate? Tell God your fears and failures and let Him change your heart from one of fear to one of faithfulness.

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