Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wanted: a Million Nehemiahs

(Not an actual photograph)
I started reading The Book of Nehemiah on Sunday, and here is what hits me so far: we need a million "Nehemiahs" in the world. Quick review: Nehemiah is in exile with his fellow Jews, but 2 previous attempts have been made to restore Jerusalem and they are mostly not back in Jerusalem. The first was under Zerubbabel 94 years before, and the second was under Ezra about 13 years before Nehemiah's account. While both previous efforts had glimmers of success, the bad news that Nehemiah had received from his brother on the condition of Jerusalem was a kick in the gut that affected him physically, emotionally, and spiritually and quite literally brought him to his knees.

He heard bad news and instead of giving in to the status quo thinking that nothing could be done, he prayed, fasted, and hatched a plan over the next 3 months or so. And with his career on the line, when the King asks him what's going on with all the puffy eyes and sad face (I don't think cupbearers were supposed to be melancholy) Nehemiah lays it out on table. In fact, he responds in such a way that the King is asking him, more than he is asking the King. Genius. And when it's time to speak, he has a "plan" - simple, direct, and to the point. I love the way he doesn't plow the King with details - just purpose and 2 simple facts: "Oh, can you make sure I'm free to go there and I sure could use some wood." Or something like that, probably better to leave the quotes off my paraphrase.

We need a million Nehemiah's who will respond to the crises of our day like this. Men and women who will see physical disasters, spiritual need, emotional distress and status quo thinking that nothing can be done, and will be so provoked by God that they are brought to their knees in surrender, prayer, fasting, and arise with a call from God to action. And it doesn't have to be a giant "thing" to act, like a Katrina or Haiti (though acting there is great too.) It can be the huge needs on your campus, in your community, of a neighbor who is losing their home...whatever.

I think this is what God is doing among the Christian students and faculty of our world, (and many others, of course.) This little blog is re-dedicated to telling that story, of encouraging this kind of behavior among more and more students and faculty around the world. Of course, wrapped in my own personal musings, mixed with outstanding coffee recommendations, and incredible insights about life in general. And humor, cause there is alot of stuff that is still very funny out there.

So, there you have it. Tell me and others your Nehemiah moment. Comment below, or just tell a friend - What has captured your heart that has brought you to your knees and made you say "This must change?" Where were you and how did it happen? Let others know - you may inspire another Nehemiah-to-be that is in need of a little push. And if that hasn't happened, then ask God for that breakthrough, cause it's ultimately from what He does in you, connecting you and your life to what He wants to do in the world. And then put on your seat belt and get ready, cause you are in for the ride of your life.