Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.
The first step for getting a project done is investigation–you have to plan it. The second step is motivation. You have to announce it. That is true whether you are a pastor, a political leader, a CEO, or a parent. There is a time when you have to announce what you believe God is leading you to do. How Nehemiah did this was masterful. He cast his God-given vision in a way that caused the people to want to respond. There are three ingredients of an announcement that will capture people’s imagination and make them want to join in the project.
First of all, an announcement to motivate people has to be insightful–that is, it has to show a basic grasp of the true situation. Look at verse 17 of Nehemiah 2. “Then I said to them, ‘You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.’” Nehemiah gave them an honest assessment of the situation. He said, “The city is desolate, the wall is in shambles.” Why did Nehemiah point out the obvious to these people? Because Nehemiah understood the principle of visual tune-out. Do you know what visual tune-out is? Let’s say one day you notice a big crack has formed in one of the walls in your living room. You think, “What is wrong with my house? Is the foundation shifting? Is the house about to fall down?” But for whatever reason you postpone doing anything about that crack in your wall. Pretty soon you walk into the living room, and you do not even notice it. But after a year, a friend comes over and the first thing his eyes go to is that crack in the wall. He says, “What is wrong with you? Why are you allowing this to go the way it is?” And you say, “Well, it has always been that way.” That is exactly what was happening in Jerusalem. The wall had been down for a hundred years. The people had gotten used to a city without walls. They probably rationalized and said, “If God really cared about it, He would rebuild that wall Himself.” Then Nehemiah came in and said, “This thing is a mess. I cannot believe you have allowed this wall to remain unbuilt for a hundred years.” The Jews in Jerusalem had tuned out the problem, but Nehemiah was a fresh set of eyes. He understood that he needed to give an insightful catalog of the problems in the city.
Second, the announcement was inclusive. Notice that Nehemiah did not say, “Your city is a mess. Your walls have been broken down. You need to get to work and do something about this.” Instead, he said, “This is our city and we have got to do something about it. Let’s rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah realized that he would not be able to inspire the people to work hard or to give sacrificially to rebuild the wall unless he was involved as well. He said, “We are going to do this thing together.” Before people get involved in what God is leading you to do, they have to know that you are investing in it too. Your announcement has to be inclusive.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Art Of Getting Things Done” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.