Moses saw the suffering of his Hebrew brothers and sisters and his heart was moved to reject his royal upbringing by leaving a place and position of prestige, comfort, riches and power to lead them out of Egypt through the Red Sea and toward the Promise Land.
Nehemiah was broken-hearted when he was told about the people in Jerusalem; that they were in great trouble and shame. The wall was broken down and the gates were destroyed by fire. When he was told these things we are told that he wept and he prayed and fasted. He risked his life several times yet he went to Jerusalem and led them to rebuild the wall and hang the new gates.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was so moved by the plight of black people in America that he gave his life leading a civil rights movement. Mother Teresa was so crushed by the poverty she saw in Calcutta that she spent her life there ministering to the poor. John Knox was so burdened for the souls of the people of Scotland that he prayed to God, “Give me Scotland, or I die.”
What breaks your heart?
That is a very powerful question. The point of the question is this: You were designed by your Heavenly Father, who has given you unique gifts, talents, experiences, etc. for the purpose for which He placed you here at this time in history to fulfill.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
When a person begins knitting they have an end in mind. They just don’t start knitting and after a period of time say, “Hey, look, I have a blanket.” They know what they want, the size and the color they want, before they ever start. When God created you and me He created us with an end in mind; with a purpose for us to fulfill.
The people mentioned above, and everyone else who ever dared to make real change happen in their corner of the world, developed a deep conviction about a particular cause because of a heart-breaking burden over something that desperately needed to change. Bill Hybels in his book Holy Discontent said this: “I believe the motivating reason why millions of people choose to do good in the world around them is because there is something wrong in that world. In fact, there is something so wrong that they just can’t stand it. As a result, they devote their vocational lives, their volunteer energies and their hard-earned money to making sure it gets fixed.”
What breaks your heart the most?
Does human trafficking and slavery break your heart the most?
Does social injustice break your heart the most?
Does seeing children struggling in poverty and going hungry and without some basic needs break your heart the most?
Does the decline of healthy marriages and families break your heart the most?
Does domestic violence break your heart the most?
Does lack of medical care to those most in need break your heart?
Does seeing men, women, adolescents in bondage to addictive behaviors, or substances break your heart?
As we look at the world we live in, there are a lot of things that bother us. But there is probably only one thing that bothers us the most. When we see it, read about it, or hear someone speak about it, it just breaks our heart. Being self-aware enough to know what breaks our hearts can help us as we ponder and answer one of the questions that most people ask in life, “What am I here for?” It also helps when we’re trying to determine our next step, our next move or our next project. Becoming aware of what truly breaks our heart can also lead us to the hope we can offer others whose hearts are broken as they live through the experiences that break ours.
I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this question: What breaks your heart the most? Once you’ve written the answer down, begin to pray about what you can do to make a difference and how you can give hope through your life to those who need you and are waiting for you to show up in their lives.