Nehemiah 1:3-4 “They said to me, ‘Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.’ When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.”
I’ve read through the book of Nehemiah a few times over the last couple of weeks. If you haven’t read his story yet, or if you haven’t in a long time, block out some time and read it soon. There are only 13 chapters in the book and it reads like an action novel.
Think about a time when you were burdened by injustice while simultaneously crippled by inaction. You noticed something wasn’t quite right, but you didn’t do anything about it. If that’s been part of your story, you’re not alone. Even in our cause-motivated modern culture, many people have lost the ability to see themselves as the solution to a problem.
It’s become pretty easy to justify a failure to act. We think, “I’m already too busy–I don’t have the time to invest at a meaningful level.” Or, we believe the lie that says one person cannot make a difference in the world.
God didn’t create us, nor did Jesus commission us to do nothing but worry and fret. If God has revealed a concern to you, trust Him to guide your steps as He reveals the solution.
When we meet Nehemiah in chapter one, we learn about his job. He was a cupbearer – that’s the guy responsible for ensuring the safety of the king’s food and drink. He was satisfied with his position until he learned about the state of the walls and gates in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah wasn’t the city planner or the land-use guy. Vocationally, he wasn’t in a position to do anything about the broken-down wall. He didn’t have the authority to go and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah could have been crippled by inaction. After all, rebuilding walls around a city is a big job, especially for one person. Also, Nehemiah didn’t live anywhere near Jerusalem–he was living in Susa, almost 800 miles away! What could one man do?
Then he realized God orchestrated the details of his life and vocation as the solution to the problem. Nehemiah had a trusted relationship with the person (the Persian king) who could help him do something about a very real a very big problem.
Many times God will reveal a concern and the solution won’t be immediately obvious. What you can’t see is God working behind the scenes to prepare you and others for the time to act.
God will give you the burden but He will give you the means to provide the solution.
That’s where your faith grows. God requires us to have faith to please Him, and your vision to right a wrong will undoubtedly require more faith than you think you have. Remember God is always at work ahead of you, so don’t worry when the mechanics of achieving your vision become overwhelming.
Think about this: God has you exactly where He needs you to do what only you can do. God always uses ordinary people for His extraordinary work.
God prompted Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, but he was just one guy. How did things work out for Nehemiah’s burden for the city of Jerusalem?
Nehemiah 6:15-16 “So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun.16 When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”
Does your God-given burden cause you to feel overwhelmed? If so, relax! God’s got you right where He needs you. Follow His guidance and get ready to be amazed by His perfect solution.
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
What I need to remember:
- TWO SERVICES THIS SUNDAY! We’re moving to two services (9:00 and 10:30) on Sunday, September 11. Begin praying now for 3 people you will invite to join you at The Church @ Clayton Crossings. Pray for your relationship, your conversation, and for their salvation.
- LORD’S SUPPER. We’re going to observe the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, September 18 in both services.
- BAPTISM Our next baptism is scheduled for both services on Sunday, September 25. Allow your church family to celebrate the transformation Jesus has made in your life. Sign up for more info here.
What I’m reading:
- Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders by Aubrey Malphurs.
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to lead people to find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.
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