What is left to say about Nehemiah? I’ve tried to remain out of the story as much as possible, but now it’s time to get personal. I now see that Nehemiah was more than just an exceptional servant of God. I now see that he was more than just a great leader and motivator. I now see that he was more than just a humble man entrusted with noble tasks. I now see that Nehemiah is my brother. He built, and now I build. He loved, and now I love. He cried and prayed and turned over his life to God, and now I find myself guilty of all three as well.
At the beginning of this study, I told you that I connect to characters in Scripture because I can see my life in theirs. While that’s a true statement, it’s an unfortunate one. You see, it wasn’t that long ago that Nehemiah wouldn’t have mattered to me like he does now. I spent years working as a youth minister in Henderson, Kentucky. I loved the teenagers and the congregation. I loved my job but I never felt I was building anything, just sustaining it for someone else to eventually take over. Some of that has to do with the circumstances, but a lot of it has to do with me. I was immature, unready for the opportunity, and unwilling to make it work on a level beyond what “I thought was best.”
Then my life changed and I was given the opportunity to serve as the pulpit minister at the Tompkinsville Church of Christ in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. Since then, my understanding of serving God has changed radically. I still teach the Scripture first and my opinion second. I still value the Word of God over programs, activities, and other obligations. I still love teaching God’s Word in any circumstance to anyone. I still love being involved in the lives of those I work with. The big things about my ministry haven’t changed, but I have. My mindset and my opinion of what I’m supposed to be has changed, all because of Nehemiah.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
Colossians 3:23 | NKJV
I am supposed to be a builder and I realize that now. Not just of things in my life, but things in the life of this congregation. At times, that means I must be a motivator, a defender, or an educator. It means I’m now responsible for creating, nurturing, and then letting go of ideas, movements, and even lives so they can blossom and find purpose. It means I’m now in Nehemiah’s shoes.
Nothing herein Tompkinsville was broken like the walls of Jerusalem. No one needs my inspiration today as the occupants of Jerusalem needed Nehemiah’s on that day, but someday, they might. I will prepare myself for the inevitable from this day forward, that one day God will send a brother my way with news I’m not expecting. That bit of news will change me because it will drive me to fix what should have never been broken. That news will bring me to tears and push me to turn to God because he’s the only one who can help. On that day, the opportunity God gave Nehemiah will be placed on my doorstep.
Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.
Proverbs 16:3 | NKJV
I pray that on that day I’ll be the builder God needs in those circumstances. I pray that God will have the confidence in me that he had in Nehemiah. I pray that on that day I’ll seek Him first, the welfare of others second, and then the opportunity to make something that lasts forever, an example that’s worth following.
My friends, I hope we will all aspire to be like Nehemiah in our families, our congregations, our communities, and our world. I pray we’ll find the strength, drive, and diligence to finish our projects and fulfill our responsibilities. I pray we will be a generation of Nehemiahs. Today, he’s the character in Scripture I want to be like more than I can possibly describe because today, my world is a giant fixer-upper and I’m ready to get to work. Are you?
Scripture taken from New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Originally published on October 19, 2016, by Neal Mathis