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Monday, June 20, 2011

Nehemiah...Again? (Part 1)

Text: Nehemiah 2:11-20; 4:1-23

Sorry guys, I’m back staring at the battered and beleaguered walls with Nehemiah. We have visited with Nehemiah recently, but I think he has a little more to offer us (me) right now. At least a portion of my angst is being generated by a little turmoil I am experiencing in my church life right now. If I can be just a tiny bit transparent, I am having not so much a faith crisis, as a people-in-church crisis.

So the question we must keep asking ourselves is, “How do we as leaders keep others motivated when the going gets tough?” And, this brings us back to Nehemiah.

When I am faced with adversity, I usually think of two old sayings...

“Tough times will make you better or bitter,” “What doesn’t kill us is bound to make us stronger.”

Adversity, however does not leave us untouched or unscathed. So, the truth of the matter must lie somewhere between these two extremes; somewhere between the bitter and dying and the better and stronger.

What moves us to one side or the other of this equation? Why are some of us crushed and others elevated when life torments us? What makes the difference? The short answer is- the ability to reach deep within to find the inspiration to carry us through depends on our reservoir of faith. If our personal tanks are empty, we can often find encouragement through an experienced leader to replenish it. Of course, right now I’m speaking of Nehemiah.

In 444 B.C. the city walls of Jerusalem were in ruins and the gates of the city were burned. The smoke had long dissipated, but the people were still in great distress. Despair had taken the very heart out of the people.

Nehemiah was a great leader who reached deep within to find the motivation to say, “Give me the utensils, and we will finish the work!” At times like this, a simple speech can have a great impact. Words can find their way into fearful hearts and liberate disconsolate souls! And when encouraged people unite, they can become a tenacious and formidable force that can bring about victory!

For those of us that may feel downcast, or disheartened, God is calling us from defeat to victory. That is His God’s call upon our hearts today. Our businesses, families and churches need someone who is in touch with a great God to lead us through the tough times. That’s you!

Since we’ve been here recently, I’ll just give the highlights of the Book of Nehemiah and draw attention to some of the principles that show us Nehemiah was a great example. Setting – Nehemiah was in captivity in Babylon. He heard about the hardship and ruin of Jerusalem’s walls/gates. He asked to be allowed to go repair them and was given permission and the resources to accomplish it...

[more tomorrow...]

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