By Bob Hightchew
A church hired a young minister. The church was small, running less than 100 people. The young minister loved the people and loved his work. He preached sound doctrine and taught sound biblical lessons.
The Lord grew the church to more than 2,000 members. The years passed quickly and it came time for the minster to retire. When the minister left, his replacement began to make immediate changes. Some of the changes were helpful and some were not. The sad part of the story is that within a year of his retirement, many people had stopped attending. The church’s external focus quickly shifted to an internal one. The fire of the gospel had been replaced with a heap of lukewarm embers. Imagine the pain the retired minister felt when he returned for a visit.
When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he found that the fire of the people to serve God had almost burned out. They had ignored the way God called them to live. They no longer honored the Sabbath. They ignored the command to train their children up in the way of the Lord. The house of God had been neglected.
Nehemiah had been governor for about 12 years. The nation of Israel had celebrated all that God had done for them at the dedication of the wall and the gates. However, upon Nehemiah’s return he found laziness and negligence. Nehemiah rebuked the leaders and called them to do their duty properly. He reminded them that this “do nothing” behavior is what got Israel into trouble to begin with.
We need to take a good long look at how we too are living. Are we living the way God calls us to live? Are we honoring him with our lives? Are we doing what we are called to do for the kingdom? Let us become the voice of Nehemiah and be willing to challenge others to step into the gap.
Bob Hightchew has served as the senior minister of South Fork Christian Church in Verona, Kentucky since 1996. He and his wife, Holly Jo, have been married for 22 years. They have three children.