During the late 90's, I was just finishing up college when the popular trend of Evangelical Christianity shifted to emphasizing 'Leadership' as its primary. If you remember this era, you might recall the numerous books that John Maxwell published in this frenzy. Almost all the writings were centralized around the book of Nehemiah and Ezra. Youth Camps, Discipleship materials, any extra conferences were somehow centralized on Nehemiah. To be frank, I grew very upset with the almost tunnel vision approach of the church on this character. From the 90's through the first decade of the 21st Century, this Nehemiah character is unveiled again, not with the leadership focus, but on his ability to convey vision and build. AND THUS, many churches across the SBC, used this theme to create slogans and mottos surrounding 'church building campaigns'.
Frustrated in my heart, I grew to almost despise the story. I rarely would even read Ezra and Nehemiah in my readings. Not feeling I was better than them, but I could dare get passed the 'night survey that Nehemiah did' with out being whisked away to 100's of talks that I had either given or heard, regarding Leadership.
NOW, 10 years later. My assignment from Lifeway is to write a LEADERSHIP COMMENTARY on Nehemiah. Isn't the Lord funny? Two weeks ago, when I learned the details of the assignment, I almost cringed...yet then a spark of light. This is what I realized.
In God's gracious wisdom, I can now reflect on passages in light of my experience and more mature insight. My personal grudge against this passage may strain me to truly look more intent to see the richness beyond a leadership motif. Possibly, a more Theo-centric view or a ribbon of grace to point to Christ further down the road in the New Testament. Who knows?
I have four major sections to begin today on. I am eager to see what God's timeless truths can change in this cynical/skeptical/pessimistic/sinful young man. No doubt in my mind I need Him to change me.
Lord forgive me for being arrogant to think that your Word is to be danced around. Lord help me to embrace the riches of the book of Nehemiah. I cringe as I wrote this morning realizing just how vain I am, humble me I pray to read/write encouraging words to people who need to see that the Scriptures are sufficient in all ways pertaining our Salvation.