I am a person of action. I love having a project and I like to dig right in and start making progress. In this section of Nehemiah, I find that jumping right into the middle is not always the best course of action. Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem and doesn't begin the project immediately but surveys the work three days after his arrival. He didn't share God's calling with anyone immediately. He was clearly collecting data and learning about the needs and the resources that were available to him.
As I begin a new work that has been a large focus of what I am doing is learning about what programs exist in our area to help people in financial distress and what is the best way we can achieve financial stability. I need to make sure that I have completed the community assessment and developed some strong goals and assessed my resources before going off into action. I need to be careful about presenting my agenda before learning about the agenda's of others.
Nehemiah did his first survey of the city after dark with a few escorts to guide him around. I am sure that his heart was sorrowful as he saw first hand the destruction of Jerusalem.
After surveying the damage he went to the priests and nobles of the city to encourage them to join in the rebuilding. He told them about how God had granted him favor with the king and his calling to the project. Seeing only the upside of the project, the priests and nobles agreed. If Sanballat had been present that might have been another issue as they had lived under the oppression others for so long; I am sure they were weary and afraid.
I love how Nehemiah didn't shy away from confrontation of Sanballat, but gave glory to God even before the project was begun. Nehemiah was assured of his calling and therefore he was assured of it's success he could boldly say that God would complete the work and they would have no share or claim to the city after its completion.
As I consider applications for my own life, I think that first and foremost, I need to continually be praying to have the assurance of my calling and to know how to best direct my actions to see my own project through to its completion.
Secondly, I need not to begin a work until it is properly assessed and the survey is completed. Having a plan is important before the project begins not developing the plan as you go.
Third, I think that we need to bring others into our projects and allow them to share in the work and to lend their expertise.
Fourth, we need not fear or shy away from confrontation or opposition. We can know that our God is greater than any enemy we face and we don't need to be ashamed of our work done for him.
Finally, we need to give God the glory right from the get go. God's glory is our mission. Did God get glory for your day yesterday? If not, let's make sure he gets the glory for our work done today!