What was Nehemiah’s first action on his arrival in Jerusalem? Was it to setup a proper command centre to direct the operation? Was it to establish his team of leaders to help?
Not at all. His first action (after resting) was to go and see the ruins for himself. He didn’t send his confidants out to write a report on its condition. He went to see the ruins for himself.
What kind of a leader am I? What kind of an elder am I? What kind of Christian am I? Do I sit somewhere in an ivory office and somehow feel that I understand the need or the situation?
Go and see the ruins for yourself
I’ve said before that Nehemiah was an amazing leader, likely one of the best in history. Here he demonstrates a quality that I don’t possess enough of. I really don’t want to see the ruins. I don’t want to see the pain. It hurts too much. But Nehemiah set out to experience the desolation for himself. Did that impact his urgency, his commitment and his love for his people? I am convinced it did.
The challenge in our churches is to get out. To reach out beyond our four walls (to borrow a term from a recent leader’s conference) and go where the need is. That’s tough, because its not my comfortable place. I am vulnerable when I leave my four walls. I don’t like it, but it is necessary.
The challenge in our lives as Christians and as Christian leaders is to go to where the need is. Is there someone struggling spiritually or physically?Go and see that person. Is there an opportunity for a new outreach? Go and see the need and if possible experience it.
Seeing is believing. Seeing will change your motivation and commitment to whatever task God has given you. It will change you in remarkable ways and motivate your ministry in exciting ways.
Looking at Nehemiah 2:11-20, we notice a few practical lessons.
1. Go at night. Don’t go with fanfare as a demonstration to others. Go when no one is looking.
2. Go right away. Don’t wait. Go early. Go now. Seeing for yourself will impact what you do and how you do it (verse 11).
3. Go tell someone. Share the passion of the work with others (verse 17). The response will be amazing and you might even hear “Let us start rebuilding.”(verse 18).
The example of Christ
Are you still questioning the need to see and experience the ruins for yourself? There is no greater example in history than our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He came to the ruins for Himself. He left His throne and experienced what we experience day to day. He came without fanfare and with urgency.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15 ESV)