Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Living Example

A Living Example
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 5:14-19
“I devoted myself to the work on the wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land.”  (Neh. 5:16 NIV)
I know of no New Testament apostle who was a greater living example than the Apostle Paul. He encouraged the believers in the church of Thessalonica by saying, “you became imitators of me and of the Lord…” (1 Thess. 1:6) Paul lived a model life worth imitating.
     D. L. Moody once said, “A holy life will produce the deepest expression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they only shine.”
     Nehemiah was a living example, and let his light shine so that others might follow him and the Lord. What kind of example did Nehemiah set?
First, he and his assistants did not use their official expense account to feed themselves, nor did they tax the people in order to eat (5:14). Wouldn’t it be refreshing if some of our government officials would pay their own way instead of using tax payer monies?
Second, Nehemiah and his assistants did not use their positions to “feather their own cap” and gain personal wealth at the expense of the people (5:15). If that sounds familiar, it is because we see that happening on a regular basis in our country both in and out of politics.
Third, Nehemiah and his assistants were not merely advisors, but put their shoulders to the work. They stood shoulder to shoulder with the workers, and got the same blisters, bruises, and backaches as others (5:16).  When my wife and I went on a construction team mission trip to Nurlu, France, we worked alongside other Christian workers in a cooperative effort to get the work project completed. When the missionary family (they had eight children) returned home, they found their home completely remodeled and ready for use. What a blessing it was to them! Jesus said, “I am with you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27 NIV).
Fourth, Nehemiah not only paid for his own food, but he shared what he had with those in need (5:17-18). He was generous and asked for no reward. The same principle applied to all of our mission trips. We paid for our own transportation, insurance, visas, food, and lodging. If there is to be a reward, it does not come in this lifetime, except for the joy and satisfaction that we fulfilled the will of God.
Fifth, Nehemiah did all of these things as a service to the Lord. He was interested only in seeing that the work was done.
What important life lessons can we learn from Nehemiah’s experience?
Lesson 1 – expect problems in ministry. Where there are people—there are potential problems. Christian brothers are not exempt from personal differences.
Lesson 2 – confront the problems as soon as they occur. Don’t make the mistake of sweeping them under the rug thinking they will disappear by themselves. They never do.
Lesson 3 – let it be said of you, what God says of Job—“He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 3:8 NIV).
Lesson 4 – every problem presents an opportunity for the Lord to act.
     What kind of example do we offer to a world that lays in darkness? Are we lights that shine forth the gospel of Christ or burnt out bulbs?
Prayer: Dear Lord, I’m giving all my problems to you today and seek 

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