City Motivators for City Takers: ONE


 Here is the first of a series that I hope will be an encouragement to those who have a 'city focus'. 

City Motivators for City Takers: ONE

Every City Needs a Nehemiah


Every city needs one or more Nehemiah’s. When Nehemiah heard of the devastation and brokenness in his city, Jerusalem ...


1. He listened. Neh.1:2,3. He heard the report of those who had witnessed firsthand, the dreadful state of Jerusalem. Broken down corporate life was an even greater problem than broken down walls. By listening, Nehemiah began to identify with the true state of the city and its pain. He was a good listener. “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept”.


2. He prayed. Neh.1:4-11. “I mourned and fasted and prayed”. We must look to Jesus. The church is not the saviour of the city. Jesus is. Nehemiah prayed. He internalized the pain. His prayer included identification and supplication for clarity over the state of Jerusalem.


3. Nehemiah sought out resources. Neh.2:4-8. He approached king Artaxerxes and made request for permission to go to Jerusalem, authorization to rebuild the walls, a guarantee of safe passage, materials to build with and letters from the king to govt. officials.


4. He built networks. Neh.2:9-18. By visiting people along the way to get their cooperation. By building relationships with people upon his arrival in Jerusalem.


5. He researched the city. He personally assessed the condition of the wall. Neh. 2:12. “I set out by night .. I had not told anyone what God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” Nehemiah had prepared well. He understood the value of preparation. The behind the scene work took about six months


6. He gathered key leaders. He gathered political, economic and religious leaders. He then began by addressing perceived issues. Neh. 2:17-18. Biding his time, he began where the people were at.


7. He built ‘people power’. The people began to take ownership. ‘Let us start building’. Neh. 2:18. Rule number one. ‘Don’t disempower people by doing everything yourself.’ They built with families each taking responsibility for a section of the wall.


9. They stood their ground. Together they confronted the opposition represented by Sanballat and Tobiah, (who represented the political and economic spheres). After they had mocked, ridiculed and made accusation of rebellion, Nehemiah responded,” The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” Neh. 2:20.


10. They overcame. The wall was completed. Their enemies “perceived that this work was done by our God”. Neh.6:16


11. They celebrated. They were to celebrate and discover the city’s joy. Neh. 8:10. “Nehemiah said, ‘go and enjoy sweet food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’”. Be a cheer leader in your city, we cannot be overwhelmed by the city’s evil.


12. Nehemiah did the following: He exhibited passion and commitment. He affirmed people. He challenged individuals to engage and think through their problems.


Conclusion. The wall was rebuilt in 52 days after being demolished for 141 years. Neh. 6:15–16. Why had someone not said ‘enough is enough”. They lacked a Nehemiah.


Acknowledgements to Robert Linthicum for his writings related to city issues from which I have gleaned. Colin Shaw


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