“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.” ~ Habakkuk 1:1
Habakkuk did something more Believers should do more often: he looked around in his society, his community, his neighborhood. And as he saw the rampant sinfulness and disregard for God and the things of God, he was burdened. He was so troubled by the spiritual decline of his people that he cried out to God to intervene (Habakkuk 1:2).
If only more of us would follow Habakkuk’s example. Too often we are so absorbed with our own daily challenges that we hardly stop to think about what is going on around us. We don’t see people around us suffering from the effects of sin in their lives.
Our burdens and concerns too often revolve around securing our comfort. We spend most of our prayer time (when we do pray) asking God to make our lives easier. Likewise, we spend most of our time tending to our own affairs.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong in petitioning God about our circumstances: the Scripture is full of prayers like that. Our struggles, my struggles and your struggles, are real. And God instructs us to bring ALL our cares to Him (Philippians 4:6). And we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families.
However, God also tells us that that is not enough: God also wants us to be concerned with the plight of our brethren (Matthew 25: 31-46, Galatians 6:2). It is not enough to bring just our burdens to God in prayer, we must also bring the burdens of our brothers/sisters, our community, our neighborhood, to Him. It is not enough to take care of just our own (selves/families), we must also tend to the burdens of others.
If we are the ones God wants to use to bring change, to make a positive difference, in our communities, it helps to know the problems that trouble our communities. But even more important is that we care; that we care enough to pray long and hard and repeatedly for the needs of our fellow men… So that God can prepare us to reach them: to minister to their needs.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?’
And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’” ~ Matthew 25:37-46