Bible Order: Psalms 144–150
Chronological Order: Amos 6-9
New Testament Only: Acts 12:1–19
Start Laying Bricks
So far we have learned of three men God raised up to rebuild the temple and walls of Jerusalem; Zerubbabel, the prince, or politician; Ezra, the priest, or clergyman; and now Nehemiah, the businessman, or layman. It is easy to ridicule the efforts of the politician as history has shown us this class of individual is deserving of such treatment. The clergy are not to be ridiculed, but they are so overburdened by a listless congregation that whatever they accomplish is a minor miracle. Now Ezra’s accomplishments were nothing to sneeze at. He achieved a lot, but the walls of Jerusalem were still in shambles and what Ezra had achieved was in jeopardy as long as that remained the case.
It took the layman, who God had called, to get the wall built. Not all but most of the men I have met who are pastors were called to His service at a young age and have had little to no experience in creating or running a business. Most politicians have even less experience with such matters. Thankfully our clergy are called to study and preach God’s Word; I have no desire to see them become experts in running businesses. Unfortunately I see little redeeming value in a politician with no experience in business. These bags of hot air sit on their duffs day in and day out theorizing on how business works as they proceed to pass law after law regulating business. They theorize because they have no experience. They have no idea how things get done.
I guess you can tell I’m a big fan of the clergy and rather jaded with regard to the political class. My point is that if you want something done you need to turn to a business person. You need to turn to someone who knows how to organize and manage and motivate and drive on until the job is done; not in the rarefied air of politics and religion but in the everyday air of real life. If we want to see the walls of God’s kingdom rise we are going to have to stop laying around waiting on the politicians and the priests. We are going to have to stand up as the men God has called us to be and start using the experiences, abilities, talents, knowledge and skills with which He has blessed us for His purpose and glory.
Politicians will not build God’s kingdom. Our pastors are God’s mouth piece. You and I are the muscle. You and I will build the walls when we answer the call of God that even now can be heard roaring from the mouths of His pastors. Nehemiah was heartbroken at the state of Jerusalem and the stalled state of rebuilding the walls. Did he sit there complaining and criticizing? Did he sit around waiting for someone else to step up? Did he sit around hoping for a miracle? No, Nehemiah wept and mourned and fasted and prayed for days. He then looked for an opportunity to take action and seized it the moment it appeared. Notice this last little bit of Nehemiah’s prayer:
Nehemiah 1:11 ESV
“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
“Grant success to your servant today and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” When I said above that Nehemiah looked for an opportunity to take action I would have better said he took action to create an opportunity to serve God. Nehemiah had a plan to ask the king for help in restoring Jerusalem. For the first time ever he would allow the king to see him sad. He knew this would be remarkable to the king and force an inquiry. Once the king asked, Nehemiah would have the opportunity to make his request.
Guys, I wonder. Does the state of our world today cause us to weep and mourn? Does it cause us to fast and pray? Does it cause us to look for, and seize, the opportunity to build God’s kingdom? Why is Nehemiah’s story in the Bible? Why does God want you to read about him? He has included this story because he wants you to understand that you are Nehemiah. He has given you the skills and abilities and knowledge and talents that He wants you to have to play your role in building His kingdom. What is your answer to His call on your life? I’ve got news for you fellas, if you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you already said yes to that call.
Later on in today’s reading we see how other laymen built up the various sections of the wall. Each took responsibility for his part and did his work. At times they had to work with one hand while holding a spear in the other. They had to sleep in their cloths and work from sun up to sun down. Man by man they did the work God called them to do and the wall got built. That is our job today. Shame on us for leaving the building of God’s kingdom to politicians and pastors. Doing so has been a complete abdication of our responsibilities before God. It’s time we stood up, took our part of the wall and started laying bricks!
Have a kingdom building day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 5/27/10)