I’ve gotten behind on blogging lately, so this post is actually about two weeks ago, when I did my monthly kid-teaching at Sojourn. The lesson was about taking initiative, and was based on the story of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was a Jew living in Susa, where he was the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes. He’d gotten word that the walls surrounding Jerusalem were broken, and that the gates had been burned down. Not only did it leave the city defenseless, it was disgraceful.
So saddened was Nehemiah at the news, that his boss Artaxerxes noticed he was down when he went in to work, and asked if there was anything to do. Nehemiah asked to be able to go to Jerusalem and do something about it, and for timber to rebuild the gates. Artaxerxes, apparently a pretty awesome boss, not only let him go and gave him everything he asked for, but sent soldiers with him to keep him safe.
When Nehemiah gets back to Jerusalem, he takes some guys out in the middle of the night to scope out the walls and gates without anybody asking what he was doing. After he does this, he calls together a big meeting of the local leaders and says they’re going to rebuild. Inspired by Nehemiah’s initiative to get it done, everybody gets all excited and they go to work.
Two things struck me reading and teaching the story.
First, what with Nehemiah being the protagonist and all, I kinda put myself in his shoes. I grew up in Huntsville, but after high school, I spent a decade wandering around Mississippi. I still loved Huntsville as my hometown, I just didn’t live there anymore. And I can’t imagine what I could have heard about happening in Huntsville that would have motivated me to come home and try to make it better personally. I would have figured that the people still here could take care of it. So all the more major props to Nehemiah for taking the initiative to do something about it.
But, and this was the bigger challenge to me — there were people still living in Jerusalem the whole time. The would get up everyday, and think, man, I wish somebody would rebuild the walls. Even the local leaders were apparently just content to ignore the problem. Nehemiah didn’t have to repair the walls himself. All the people in Jerusalem apparently needed was just someone to come say, “Hey, guys, why don’t we do this?” And yet nobody did. And, yeah, in this story, that’s totally me.
And I really need to work on that.