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Nehemiah for Today: 2 – Plan and Act

July 15, 2017

Reading Nehemiah chapter two reminds me that I can’t neglect the plight of those around me. I’m reminded that my life is connected with the lives of all of the people around me. If those running the convenience shop don’t do well then we all suffer – where am I going to get that milk I’d forgotten? If the young people are neglected then there are more problems in the park and on the street. But more than that, I believe that the life of each person around me is valuable. Valuable not just because of what they can contribute, but valuable (full stop). That is what the Bible says to me. I see that in the first chapters of the Bible, where God creates all things and sees that they are ‘good’. I see it in the way that he sent Jesus for everyone, whether they were good or not. That’s why he spent so much time with the outcasts from society, the “tax collectors and sinners”.

So I know that the people around me are valuable. The young and the old. The men and the women, those with good jobs and those with none. Those who are respectable and those even the pigeons don’t respect.

As I learned last week from Nehemiah chapter one. Nehemiah turned to God first. Then he acted. Nehemiah realised that he could ask his friend the king for help. He used the connections that he had for the good of his people. That made me think. What about here and now? I then realised that I know quite a few people in my town and villages. I know people from the shops, schools and from the other churches. I know people with businesses. I know many of the local councillors. I know so many people who also want the best for this little bit of England and the best for their country.

I realise though that I am not yet ready to act. I will know when the time is right but it is not yet. I am still living in Nehemiah chapter one (see last week). I’m still listening, questioning and praying. But things are coming together. I sense that the creation of the Church Army Centre for Mission later this year will be part of this process. I don’t know what God has in mind or what he wants people to do. But I do know that he loves the people that I see around me and that he has a plan. I just want to make sure that I am ready to work with him to make it happen.

Before Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem he laid solid foundations. He got the king onside. He made sure that he had what he needed to rebuild his city. He then brought the people of Jerusalem together in a common vision. He didn’t though expect the king or anyone else to sort things out for him or the people of Jerusalem. He secured their help, then with his people, he got stuck in to the hard work (that’s in chapter three and onwards).

So I stop and wonder. My hands itch to get stuck in, but I hear, “Not yet”, loud and clear. I look at my villages and my town and wonder what God’s plans will look like for the people that I see. I wonder…?

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