He admonishes against being lazy. (As in, rather than doing something pro-active, some people do the Christian lazy thing and just pray about it.) One of his examples of this is; “I’m not going to send out any resumes. I’m just going to pray and trust God to find me a job.”
Then he takes that Be Thou Not Lazy idea and develops it, using Nehemiah as the poster boy for praying about something and then moving forward with a plan. What did Nehemiah do? He rebuilt the wall around Jericho. (And while he was rebuilding the WALL, Ezra was building a PEOPLE. How do I know this? I JUST READ A BOOK ABOUT IT!) And do you remember that phase I went through, back at the beginning of the year, when I was reading about the Genesis women - and thrown into the mix was a book on Lilah, who was (supposedly) Ezra's sister. At the time I didn't care for the novel, or the story or Ezra, or even Ezra as a person...so I just discarded the whole reading experience, chalking it up to a waste of time. Ezra and Nehemiah were buds. And I wasn't interested in learning more about them, or anything from them.
The whole thing is feeling like a holy echo... first whisper? The book, Lilah read in January. Then the book, Left Hand of God, read in May, and now, thirdly, this posting by Jon on his blog. Is there something I need to learn about Nehemiah?
But when I read the comments, I realized it wasn't just me.
Go ahead, read some of them.
I only read about 30 of them, and the thing that 'got' me? Was the number of people that said:
- Our Church has just been going through Nehemiah.
- Love Nehemiah, our church went through the book last year
- I LOVE Nehemiah...went through it with our youth last year. He's a rock star...
- It's funny that you are digging into Nehemiah right now because my Pastor has been spending a lot of time in this book on a personal level lately.
- I'm starting to feel like God has practically rented a billboard. I have gone 20 years without hearing about the book of Nehemiah (except for the fact that my in-law's live on Nehemiah Lane). In the past week, Nehemiah has come up in three conversations and at least four websites. Guessing I'm going to start reading Nehemiah. Now.
- Me too! It's come up in a sermon at my church, my Bible study, here and other websites. God is screaming loud and clear about this!
- Funny, I thought "I'm gonna have to read Nehemiah now, he's popped up several times lately." :D
Kinda feels like a twilight zone thingy, no? People all across North America are hearing this same sacred echo. I feel a kinship. And am half expecting Jeff to say, after he finishes this series on the Gospel of Mark, that we'll be studying Nehemiah next. Or maybe I should endeavor to do that on my own? And quit being so lazy about investigating the scriptures.
Speaking of Jeff.
I wasn't in church last week, so I listened to the message online this afternoon at work while I signed receipts and stuffed envelopes. Oh my goodness. People clapped at the end of his sermon. I wish I had been there. Powerful. Mennonites clapping. Clapping, at the end of a sermon that suggests churches should host birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 am. WOW. Preach it brotha. You are shaking up my world.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Wind. It's storming outside. LOVE it.
2. Holy, sacred echoes.
3. Sermons that nudge and push me out of my comfort zone.