(January 10, 2017) Brian Bell reminds us a great kingdom building principle …
The book of Nehemiah has often been meditated on to unveil its truths and their application for our lives.
In this brief meditation I’m not bringing a new revelation but offering three simple thoughts which presume the reader has a general knowledge of Nehemiah’s story.
But whether you’re familiar with the Nehemiah story or not, I believe these thoughts that the Holy Spirit has used to speak to me will also encourage your heart too.
Primarily, Nehemiah’s concern was for that which had been broken.
For me the walls of Jerusalem can speak of completeness, protection, security and today we do not find these elements in sturdy stone walls of defence as in Nehemiah’s Jerusalem, yet they are important characteristics for the lives of the men and women of today.
When you look around your family, your community, our church fellowships and our world we can readily see the brokenness which touches the lives of many. As believers we know the brokenness we see, whatever form it may take, is a reflection of the sinful nature which affects every area of life and it should be a motivation to pray and seek to bring practical help as we are able.
Nehemiah’s concern was to build up that which was broken. Do I have a similar concern?
Nehemiah could not achieve the task of rebuilding on his own – he too needed the help of others. He was accompanied by a mixed group of people of different occupations, different age groups, differing abilities and even differing views. You will find these and perhaps many other aspects in any mixed group of people including our church fellowships and they can be a challenge for anyone in a leadership role.
In order to make progress it seems to me that Nehemiah used three tactics:
- Inspiring people to see they had a worthwhile contribution to make to the work
- Organising the people to help them become more effective
Someone has said, ‘Those who say “Let me tell you what to do” instruct people. Those who say “Let me show you what to do” inspire people.’
Of course this is challenging, some leaders seem to find it necessary to demonstrate their authority, yet I believe Nehemiah’s attitude shows that the positive characteristics of a leader can be passed on to those being led, not to elevate the leader but for the benefit of all.
It seems to me that people in every area of life will do best when inspiration, organisation and communication are well-utilised. Am I rising to the challenge?
The scripture record is very clear, God expects people to be diligent so far as we have physical health and well-being. God told Noah ‘be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth’ and throughout the scripture record God gives men and women work to do expecting us to carry it forward but with his promise to be with us, enabling us.
We see this in Nehemiah 4:9 ‘we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.’ Notice the combination of prayer which motivated practical action.
While there are those situations when God divinely intervenes in the affairs of our lives (I can testify to this), he expects his people to be faithful and diligent in every area of life and faith.
Nehemiah was faithful and encouraged the same faithfulness in others but Nehemiah’s confidence was wholly in the Lord as he declares in chapter 8:10 ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Where is my confidence?
As we move on in this new year, the world around us continues with many issues which seem difficult. Political and economic instability and uncertainty touch the lives of everyone, apathy and indifference to God’s word is still prevalent.
However, let us seek to have ‘The Nehemiah Attitude’ – let us keep building with others and together trust the Lord for what he will do.
Brian Bell attends Christ Church (Congregational) Abbots Cross, Northern Ireland and describes himself as ‘grateful for the privilege and opportunity given me to serve my Lord.’ Brian is also a volunteer with Disabled Christians Fellowship Ireland. Link: firstname.lastname@example.org