Whatever It Takes

In 1 Kings 17 we are told that Elijah, a prophet of God, was heart broken by the rebellion of Israel and their worship of false gods.  So he prayed that Yahweh, the true God, would stop the rain on the land to get the attention of His people.  James 5:17 tells us that although Elijah was merely a man like you and me, he prayed that it would not rain and it did not for 3½ years.  To understand the impact this had on Israel consider this:  During the North American drought of the 1930s, known as the Dust Bowl, the Midwest averaged 30% less rainfall than usual, with the worst hit areas recording as little as 50% of the average rainfall in certain years.  Corn production during the drought fell by an astonishing 75%.  Now imagine if it had not rained a single drop of water for 3½ years.  Are you getting the picture? This devastated Israel – a largely agrarian society. 
Can you imagine being the guy who caused this kind of devastation on your friends and countrymen?  Everyone knew that Elijah was the one to blame.  What an unpopular place to be and what an unusual prayer.   This prayer was very different than the prosperity type prayers that we typically hear today: “God bless me, bless my family, bless my friends, bless my business…”  Elijah’s livelihood was affected by the same drought that devastated those worshiping the false gods.  But Elijah’s compassion for the people and their suffering relationship to the Lord was greater than his desire for an easy life.  And this truth has me thinking.  What am I willing to give up for my community to know Jesus Christ?  Am I willing to suffer economic devastation and extreme unpopularity?  Do my actions reflect that I really care that much where others will spend eternity?  If you (like me) find that your actions don’t really match the compassion you say you have for the lost, then I invite you to join me in praying this prayer:
“God make me willing to be made willing to offer everything for your kingdom.  Give me such compassion for the lost that the most important thing in my life is introducing people to you.  Change my heart so that I can honestly say that whatever it takes for my will to break, that’s what I’m willing to do”.
Pastor Jonathan