Losing God in the Details

Our pursuits are only rewarding when we’ve chosen the right target.

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to meet so many people recently who are in hot pursuit. There’s a passion burning within that calls them to action. They have chosen the path less traveled – one of struggle, sacrifice, and service. It’s been the choice that has made all the difference.

Of these “do-ers,” there are some who seem to never run out of steam. The fire continues to be stoked and transformation follows. I’ve met a few like this and heard their incredible stories.

Yet there are others with the same heart of passion and doing good who hit a wall. As much as they try to rekindle the flame, they burn out and seek another pursuit. I’ve spoken to many of these souls, and my heart breaks for them.

What makes all the difference? Wasn’t it just the fact that they took the road less traveled? Weren’t they all speaking up, helping, and giving generously to others?

While so much on the outside looked the same, the difference is the one thing that got lost in the details.

In Jeremiah 9:23-24 we read,

This is what the Lord says:

‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom

or the strong boast of their strength

or the rich boast of their riches,

but let the one who boasts boast about this:

that they have the understanding to know me,

that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight,’

declares the Lord.

For some the pursuit of doing good (yes, even in the name of Jesus) is also a process of losing God in the details.

Advocates are willing to spend countless hours researching, learning, and keeping up to speed on everything that relates to the people they are trying to help or the mission they are seeking to accomplish. This is a necessary component, but it can change the course of their pursuit to one of knowledge and wisdom.

The passionate activists are tireless in their efforts to show up for every meeting and event. They find incredible ways to serve and help those around them. They are models of what it means to tangibly make a difference. Yet the focus can also shift to the doing it out of their strength and effort.

I’ve yet to meet one of these selfless few who haven’t given graciously and at great sacrifice. They sell their possession to give to poor. They skip meals to provide for the hungry. It would blow your mind to see how creative their generosity can be. Again, this can become central to the mission.

There is only one way for the passionate pursuit to continue. It is what provides the purest motivation, the best of intention, and the must sustainable action. It’s what makes the difference between burning out and burning bright.

The focus of the pursuit must be on the character of God.

We boast in knowing Him and learning more about Him in every conversation, every action, and every opportunity to advocate for others.

We delight in knowing Him – the author of what it means to be kind, just and righteous.

We operate not within our own knowledge, strength or resources but within the unending power that comes from pursuing God.

Nehemiah was one such advocate, activist and leader who stayed the course. In Nehemiah 5, we see him furious with his brothers who are acting unjustly through financial greed, forced slavery and abuse of power. He went about making this right and calling for change.

There’s a phrase in Verse 15 the betrays the real reason behind his pursuit – “But out of reverence for God.” At the end of the chapter he says, “Remember me with favor, O my God, for all I have done for these people.” As Nehemiah recounts his story, it’s as if he is having a conversation with the Almighty right in front of us.

His life wasn’t just a pursuit; it was a prayer.

For my brothers and sisters who are courageously acting on behalf of others and seeking to reveal God’s heart to the world, may you never forget the pursuit of His heart and character is what fuels the fire.

May you press into our God deeply and be filled with His Spirit and power so that His desire for kindness, justice and righteousness flows through you toward others.

May you’re life not simply be a pursuit of doing good. Instead, may it be a prayer in the name of Jesus that God do what only He can do.

Don’t pursue change and lose God in the details.

Pursue God and become the change.

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