Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration[b] forty shekels[c] of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now what was prepared at my expense[d] for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19 Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
The book of Nehemiah chronicles the Israelites returning to their homeland to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. They had been in captivity under Persian rule for a while but the Lord had placed a burden on the heart of Nehemiah to return home and rebuild. Though the work to rebuild was of God, the work brought about opposition from within and without. There were men who were staunchly against the city being rebuilt and went to all lengths to try and stop the work (Nehemiah 4). Also what had taken place was the unfair treatment within the family. In the beginning of chapter 5 some of the Israelites are complaining how leaders within the people, though family, were over taxing the poor while they were well off. The leaders were abusing their own flesh and blood all for the sake of making the money owed by them. Nehemiah found out about the injustice and had enough. He knew there needed to be a change.
In verses 14-19 we see Nehemiah’s response to the injustice. The governors of old responded wickedly but because of the fear of the Lord he chose grace over his people. Though the people owed a debt they couldn’t pay, Nehemiah did not lord that debt over the people. Instead he chose to love them by continuing to work alongside them in rebuilding the wall and paying for the provisions of those around him without asking for anything in return. Listen: Nehemiah was a man of the people.
When I read a story like this in Nehemiah 5 I can’t help but to think of the example Nehemiah set for us when it comes to leadership and stewardship. He was about honoring God and serving others. He did not use his position as a means to lord over those under his care, nor did he use it to be domineering over them. Rather because of his love for the Lord and the people, he served them and served alongside them. He gave up his “rights” to be able to make sure the people were taken care of.
Listen church, the call for us is to do the same. In whatever way the Lord has given you influence. Whether it is your family, or in your workplace, or with friends, the call for you and I is to love and serve them because of our love for Jesus Christ. What does that look like in your life? Today and in the days ahead let us follow Nehemiah’s example (And Jesus’ example) to love and care for those who are over our care by serving and leading them well.
PRAYER FOR TODAY: Dear Heavenly Father Lord, help for me to be a “person of the people” today. Help for me to be able to love and serve those whom You have placed in my care. Help for me not to take advantage of those around me due to my position or title, but rather choose to serve them. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Philippians 2:3: 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.