What do you do when the world around you is in shambles? That’s the question most of us ask ourselves regularly, and the question Nehemiah must have asked himself as well.
If you recall from last week, we were building on the idea that we can do more together than we can on our own. Despite our differences, the problems in our homes, our churches, our communities, and our world only become solvable when we as the Church work together. But before we start the process of rebuilding, we have to first name what is broken. That’s what happened in the book of Nehemiah, and that’s where we need to start too.
When we left Nehemiah, he was standing in a broken city, among a broken and defeated people. This place is where a lot of us find ourselves. We see it. We’ve named it. But we aren’t sure what to do next. So, what did Nehemiah do?
Use Whatever You Have
He leveraged whatever he had. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king, not the spiritual leader. What this tells us is that we are responsible—regardless of our position. He leveraged what he had for the sake of the people he cared about. We are called to do the same.
While a large part of what Orange does speaks to church staff members, the Orange team meets people at events throughout the year that say . . .
“I’m a teacher, and I lead a group of teenagers every week at church.”
“I’m a lawyer, and I hold babies in the nursery.”
“I’m a truck driver, and I work with seventh grade boys.”
“I’m a CEO, and I just got back from a week at kid’s camp.”
“I’m an artist, and I get to hang out with preschoolers.”
They are volunteers leveraging their influence for the sake of a generation.
Take a page out of Nehemiah’s book: Use whatever you have available. Risk whatever you have. Nehemiah risked what he had. Before he went to Jerusalem, he had privilege, power, and possessions. But he put himself out on a limb for those in another place, in another land. You can’t expect to rebuild anything without a cost.
Go and See
Nehemiah also taught us to go and see for ourselves. He left his comfort zone. He went to see the walls. He wanted to experience the problem. He needed to understand. He didn’t just ask for supplies to be sent to Jerusalem. He made the trip. Sometimes you’ll have to go see for yourself.
As Orange says, proximity changes perspective. If you’re not getting close enough, you’re not going to be the kind of relevant, caring, and empathetic leader you need to be. And if enough of us could get close enough to families with special needs issues, to those who look, act, and think differently to us, to the marginalized, to the poor, to those who’ve been treated unjustly, it would bother us enough to make the changes we need to make.
And if enough of us would lead everyone else to get close enough, and decide that our mission was to raise a generation who will go see for themselves, it would change the way they see the world and the way they see God.
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