Nehemiah. Today we’d call him a secret service officer to King Artaxerxes in 445 B.C. He tasted the king’s wine to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. Every day he risked his life for the sake of the king. I’ve never met him, but he feels like an old friend. His story inspires my story. And if you’ve followed this blog for long, you may have heard me mention him before.
This guy was passionate. His passion wasn’t tied to accomplishments or causes, even though he took on one of the biggest tasks of his time. He didn’t let the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem take the place of his ultimate passion: God.
I wish I could sit down with Nehemiah and pick his brain. If I could borrow a few moments of his time, I’d ask him:
1.What besides sheer determination is needed to get the job done? After Nehemiah had been informed that the walls of his hometown were a disgrace and could result in an enemy overtaking the city, he prayed (Nehemiah 1:5-11). He didn’t start a rally or plunge into finding resources. He prayed.
I’m a determined and driven person, but sometimes I lose sight of the One who called me to the task. I get tunnel vision on the task itself. What about you?
2. What advice do you have for battling obstacles and daily distractions? Nehemiah recognized obstacles and distractions, many times in the form of people who wanted him to fail. He responded with, “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)
I will give up tasks any day to spend time with people I love. Good things are my greatest distraction from devoting time to what I know God has called me to do. I know God desires for me to share my story. Even if it only reaches one person. What good things do you need to sacrifice for a time to take intentional steps toward those dreams God has planted within you?
3. Did you ever doubt that God led you to take on such a task? Before Nehemiah went to the finish line, did he wonder if God really wanted him to do this. He risked his position by asking the king for supplies (2:1-8). He constantly came up against obstacles (Nehemiah 3-6:14). How did he keep going?
Maybe you’re up against a big GOD-sized task and wonder how in the world it will ever be accomplished. Maybe that GOD-sized task is not really a task at all. Maybe it’s not something to check off a list. Maybe the GOD-size movement God desires to accomplish is the change HE desires in our hearts.
“So on October 2 (the 25th day of the month Elul, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar) the wall was finished — just fifty-two days after we had begun. 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” (Nehemiah 6:15-16).
This Friday, October 2, will mark 35 days into this 60-day adventure in writing my story. There are moments I wonder, wouldn’t it be easier to give up and simply coast in life until I get to heaven someday? Can’t I retire, God? Let someone else focus on all the ways You desire to partner with Christ-followers for Your Glory?
Look at what October 2 meant for Nehemiah! After only 52 days the wall was built. It meant something HUGE! It meant something only GOD could do.
Oh how I’d love to complete my first-draft in 52 days. Yep, there’d be no doubt in any of our minds that if that happened God would be the culprit!! hee hee! I still hope and plan to have more chapters completed before heading to Austria at the end of October. However, I’m not going to let the task get the best of my heart. Ultimately, my heart is more important to Him than the book. And it may be the book-writing process that HE uses to change my heart to look more like His.
What is something only God can do in your life this week? I’m praying for Him to show me his October-2-desires for my heart. He wants to build character inside of me that depends on Him no matter what and talks to Him about everything. “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,” (Philippians 1:6).
This week let us pray, watch, wait and keep stepping toward what He’s building in our lives.
Have a great week! Until next Monday.
Sneak peek at chapter 5:
I wrote the word “stress” countless times in my journal after arriving in Indiana. I have a wonderful family, gracious parents, and even a couple friends I reconnected with when I returned. But for the most part, fundraising consumed me.
When I joined a Bible study, I was already thinking about how to connect with the women and ask them to be a part of my team. When I started serving with the youth group, the wheels were already turning about how I could share my heart and passion for Austria with other leaders. My determination never felt like enough and my fear of failure plagued me. I’d create a deadline and then it would pass. I’d create another one and then it too would pass.
My frustration grew, and I began to fear that no one would believe Austria was my next step until they saw progress toward my financial support goal. I could see failure on the horizon.
Heavenly Daddy, be the author so that people may see and know, may consider and understand that You – it is Your hand that has done this. That You have created this (Isaiah 41:20).
My prayer was about God creating monthly financial support out of thin air, but God used that prayer to set the stage for something grander.