November 20, 2023
Start with prayer.
And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire."
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.
Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, 9 but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Now I was cupbearer to the king.
The Lord blessed me with this chapter because the book of Nehemiah represents something I strongly believe in—servant leadership. We can all learn from Nehemiah's devotion to the Lord.
Let's paint the picture. Nehemiah was a layman, not a priest or prophet. He was, however, a member of the last ruling family of Judah. He gave up a respected position as a cupbearer (wine taster) for Artaxerxes I, king of Persia. He was given permission to lead the Jews returning to Jerusalem after 79 years of exile in Babylon. The Jews had been slaves under the cruel king Nebuchadnezzar largely because they had forgotten the Lord God.
Nehemiah's humility before God provided an example for the people. He did not claim glory for himself, but always gave God the credit for his success; hence, his servant leadership. Nehemiah used his position to bring back order, stability, and proper focus on God. He partnered with Ezra (also the name of the book before Nehemiah) to solidify the political and spiritual foundations of the people.
How do we apply this today? Nehemiah shows us the impact one person can have on a nation. God uses all manner of people in all manner of places doing all manner of work. Do you feel you must be "in ministry" in order to serve God? Be encouraged. He is not limited by your vocation. God has placed you where you are on purpose. Have this attitude about work: "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)
I am neither an HR professional nor a recruiter, yet God called me to serve in Careers in Motion. He has a plan for you, too! I see examples of servant leadership every time I walk into CIM. Our team loves serving, and it is one of the ways we glorify the Lord. Our goal is to share the love of God by encouraging and leading each person who attends CIM.
This month's memory verse
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1. Where do you feel called to serve?
2. Whether you're leading or following, the Lord calls you to honor Him. Are you serving out of obligation or out of joy?
3. How can you serve the Lord at work? What does that look like?