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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Need to Be


Nehemiah 1:1-4 (NIV)
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 

I have heard several sermons from Nehemiah. Most of them are given by preachers who wanted to build something new. They built new sanctuaries, new family life centers and new fellowship halls. They used the words of Nehemiah to motivate the people to act. This was their first step.

But Nehemiah's first step wasn't hearing of the walls being torn down or that the gates were burned. His first step was who he was. He wasn't looking to do something great or even to make his name great. He was a man of faith who sincerely cared for his people. He knew that the condition of Jerusalem would profoundly affect the worship there even if the Temple was rebuilt. So, he didn't need to be guilted or motivated to act. He did so because of who he was.

That is something that we preachers often forget. We hire consultants to tell us how to raise the money so that we can build. We hardly ever recognize who the people are. We hardly ever depend upon who they are. We think that we have to make them feel guilty or inspire them to build when they should want to join in with us because of who they are.

Of course who you are shouldn't stop at building church structures. It should be a part of sharing your faith, confessing your sins, worshiping regularly, having a quiet time, reading, studying and teaching the scriptures, giving to those in need and anything else it takes to make disciples for our Lord. These things should always come our of who we are.

It also should make us look at what we are doing and ask, "Does what I am doing indicate who I want to be?" If not, we aren't who we think we are. Wanting to be someone doesn't make us that person. We have to act if we are to be. Eventually we will be and not have to think about our acting.

Recently someone told me that I needed to change the titles to my blogs so that I could get more traffic. I thought about it. I am not good at writing titles. That doesn't mean I shouldn't try to do a better job but I don't necessarily want more traffic. I really want to help people who are serious about following the Lord. I want them to give God glory with the way they live their lives. Reading a blog won't do that if that isn't a desire that is in their hearts. I am someone who isn't that concerned about the traffic. (though I admit that I was at first) I am someone who wants to join people in living gloriously victorious Christian lives. I am someone who does not have to be motivated in helping people do so. I really don't have time to seek those who really don't care so that I can feel good about how many people have read my blog.

I write this blog because this is who I am. It is not something I do apart from that. I really don't need the motivation of more people reading it. I wrote this blog until this is what I became. How different would my Christian life be if that were true in other things? I mean, what if I was a person who so naturally gave to others that I didn't have to think about it anymore? What if I was a person who naturally had a quiet time with God each day without having to force myself to do so?

My goal is to be. I get to that goal by doing until I am. Then, I don't need anyone who needs to tell me what I must be doing. I will do because I am. Nehemiah fasted and prayed until he was one who would rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem. He was a Jew who loved his people first. He was a builder of walls and gates second. 

He did what he was. I have a feeling that most people won't understand this.

1 comment:

Deb Willbefree said...

I thought about your question. "Does what I am doing indicate who I want to be?"

And the answer is "No and Yes." No, it doesn't indicate who I WANT to be, what I do indicates who I already am. And, yes, I do it because I want to be who I am...better.

Thanks for this. When I first read your question, my pause to think about it held some trepidation. I feared I would not find the evidence I wanted when I turned over those rocks.

It was a relief to discover that what I think I am is reflected in what I do. Ha. I also saw some gaps in that whole who I want to be thing, too. I need to work on that.

By the way--when you mentioned the fund-raising aspect, I was reminded of the pro-life agency director's job I mentioned a few months ago. I didn't get the nod.

The Board was concerned about money. My approach was that if we did outreach to the local churches,speaking at women's groups and to pastors--offering ministry, service and support--they would support the fundraisers already in place without pressure or the need for raz-ma-taz.

In other words, they would want to do that because of who they are and who they found us to be.

The Board wanted an experienced corporate fundraiser. The wanted a campaign.

Shrug. I don't do campaigns. It's not who I want to be. :)

Deb