Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jun | 19 | An Open Heart, An Open House & An Open Wallet

Dream Word – COST

Nehemiah 5:14,15 From the time King Artaxerxes appointed me as their governor in the land of Judah — from the twentieth to the thirty-second year of his reign, twelve years — neither I nor my brothers used the governor's food allowance. Governors who had preceded me had oppressed the people by taxing them forty shekels of silver (about a pound) a day for food and wine while their underlings bullied the people unmercifully. But out of fear of God I did none of that. (from THE MESSAGE: by Eugene H. Peterson.)

An Open Heart, An Open House & An Open Wallet

Nehemiah the Jew, cup bearer to the King of Babylon was on a good ticket. Wiley, wealthy, healthy and settled, there was no reason he should be moved from his sumptuous and most prosperous position. Except that he was a practical man, a patriotic man and above all a prayerful man and friends, any spiritual mathematician will tell you, that the product of prayerfulness and practical patriotism, will always produce problems in the heart in which that equation unfolds itself. Go ask Cromwell.

So one day, Nehemiah receives some Jews from Jerusalem, his own home capital city, and hears the lamentable tale of the sorry state that both it and its people are in. The equation starts to unfold, and moved by this Divine and mathematical injunction, Nehemiah has the courage to gain the permission of his earthly potentate, to return home for a time (a well thought out and planned for time by the way) for the sole purpose of restoring the people of God and their capital city, to a place of protection for them, a place of prayer for them and a place of prosperity for them. The personal cost to Nehemiah was substantial.

From the superb heights of Babylonian safety, Nehemiah was returning to a blitzed city, a city of broken walls and a city of broken spirits. He was returning under suspicion from his own people and his enemies, even under attack, from his enemies and his own people, yet bringing to their beleaguered table, his wisdom, his wiliness and his wealth. It is the latter I wish to talk about this evening: Nehemiah’s wealth.

Nehemiah was not backward in coming forward in laying out the personal cost to himself of such a radical restoration and I am glad of it, for be sure, such radical restoration is exceptionally costly. Following Nehemiah’s own practicality then, let us do the same and highlight that for twelve years, he did not take what was rightfully his. On the contrary, from his own substantial pockets, he financed and fed a multitude of projects and people. This was not an unplanned, frittering away of personal resources, but rather a well-led example of sacrifice for the purpose of focused rebuilding. Every penny was both well spent and accounted for. I think the we might consider installing Nehemiah permanently in No11 Downing Street!

The time has come in my own country of Britain to have a purposeful and focused rebuilding of the church of the living God, for all its walls are broken and breached, and for all the talk of fire, the only fire of any effect is that which has burned down all our gates. Indeed, the enemy has their storehouses in our very temple courts and the two assassins of Sanballat and Tobiah, have already unsheathed their swords among us. Today, right now, we need a multitude of Nehemiah’s, all consumed with zeal, who shall at great personal cost, give their lives in the form of their relocation, their leadership, their expertise and most practically and most especially, their wallets. Without them, Jerusalem shall not be built again in this most green and pleasant land. Are you a Nehemiah?

Listen: - I had work to do; I worked on this wall. All my men were on the job to do the work. We didn't have time to line our own pockets. I fed one hundred and fifty Jews and officials at my table in addition to those who showed up from the surrounding nations. One ox, six choice sheep, and some chickens were prepared for me daily, and every ten days a large supply of wine was delivered. Even so, I didn't use the food allowance provided for the governor — the people had it hard enough as it was. Remember in my favor, O my God, everything I've done for these people. (from Nehemiah 5:16-19, THE MESSAGE: by Eugene H. Peterson. )

Pray:- Work out Your equations in the hearts of them that can do Jerusalem good O Lord. In Jesus name we ask it, amen.

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