Summary: 4 of 4 messages on Nehemiah. We are in a building campaign and we want to build with compassion.
Building the Right Way
Building with Compassion
I’m told that there is a church in Texas that debated over the issue of telling a lie. Some felt that there were some occasions in which a little white lie was acceptable. The others felt that there was never an occasion in which a lie of any kind was acceptable. The discussion got so heated over time that the church split and one group headed down the road and started a new church. They were known as the lying church while the old church was known as the non-liars.
It gets positively silly doesn’t it!
Why do some churches fight and some enjoy unity?
Before I answer that question let me say this. We enjoy a fabulous unity here at MCC. In all the years of our existence we have yet to have a full blown fight and battle over anything and I pray we never do.
If we ever should have division and disharmony come into our church then what we now enjoy our children will not even remember. The stain of division and fighting becomes so pervasive that it is remembered for a generation or more.
Why is that? Well there are some good reasons. Let me tick off a few real quick.
First: We have a good Eldership that focuses on people and sets the general direction. They are wise enough to leave the details to our ministry staff and leaders.
Second: We don’t let gossip loose. The few times that there have been the beginnings of gossipy stuff our elders have talked to the folks involved and it stopped. That’s important.
Third: We don’t let judgmental attitudes get loose. This is a hospital for broken people who want God’s healing. It’s not a palace of flawed people pretending they are perfect.
Fourth: We allow people to make mistakes. In some places if you make a mistake you are punished or dismissed. We think that a good mistake can help teach a person how to get better and stronger.
Fifth: This is the most important – We love one another. Look around you. The people who are a part of Meridian Christian Church are here because there is love and acceptance here. This is a place where they can feel right at home. That is so important.
The critical key to all of this unity and love is good leadership – at all times – and especially in the middle of a campaign to do something big for God.
Take Nehemiah for example. You knew I would get to him sooner or later – right? Well, In Nehemiah’s world all was not well. Yes, the wall was built and there was a great victory but these were difficult and tough times.
Let’s start with the fifth chapter of Nehemiah. If you have your Bibles turn with me and read along.
Tough Times Are a Part of Every Life
The men and their wives complained loudly against their fellow Jews. 2 Some of them were saying, “We have many sons and daughters in our families. To eat and stay alive, we need grain…”
The people were in trouble. Some of the people were taking advantage of the others.
• There were some who were hungry,
• some had mortgaged their lands to buy food,
• some had borrowed to pay their taxes
• and some who had sold their sons and daughters into slavery.
These were difficult times for the people of Jerusalem. They were having some difficult economic issues… The place was a mess.
Not only had Physer and Comerica moved out of the land but chariot sales were down and factories were closing. No wait, that’s Michigan not Judah.
Actually, I think that the state of the economy that Nehemiah was dealing with was a lot like it is here today.
The fact is that tough times are a part of every life. If life is good for you today… hold on, it will get tough tomorrow. That’s just the way life works.
Clearly the people in Jerusalem were having a tough time in their lives and it would be easy for some to say to Nehemiah, “Hey! What are you thinking? Why are you investing all this money in a wall when what we need is food?”
Yet, Nehemiah understood that this is precisely the time to build a wall – for the good of the people and the community.
Now it required sacrifice in tough times but it will result in something big for God and good for his people.
Let me say something here. It is in the toughest of times that God’s people are at their best.
I have always remembered the word of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians about the church in Macedonia.