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Summary: The natural tendency after a great work is take a rest, kick back, and marvel at what you have accomplished. After the successful completion of a great project, that’s when you can become most vulnerable as a follower of God. But Nehemiah realizes the wal

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Nehemiah 6:15-7:5

“Mission Accomplised” http://www.sermonspice.com/search?q=success&topic=1&page=1

Mission accomplished! It’s finished. After all the opposition, all of the threats and all the trouble — finally the work of the walls of Jerusalem is finished. What is amazing is that the wall of Jersualem which ran nearly two miles in length around the city was completed in 52 days. They had laid in ruin for almost 150 years but now stood 10 feet wide and 15 feet in height. The men, women and children, priests, perfume makers, merchants, jewelry makers, worked in the midst of the summer heat and were still able to finish it in less than two months. Imagine just for a moment, the Corps of Engineers rebuilding two miles of damaged levees in just two months or the state of Louisiana finishing two miles of construction from start to finish on I-10 through Metairie in just two months. It was a magnificent and unforgettable achievement! Nehemiah and his small army of volunteers had completed the task!

But the work was not done yet. The goal of God was not to see if Nehemiah and the Israelites could pull off this task. It was not just to have the city of Jerusalem fortified again. The goal of God has been and always will be the reclamation of his people to a life wholly dedicated to him and doing His will and ultimately, the salvation of the world. The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem? That was just a small, though monumental, step in that direction. And so Nehemiah knew that as incredible an achievement as it was, the work of God and the call of God on his life and the people of Israel was not done. The natural tendency after a great work is take a rest, kick back, and marvel at what you have accomplished. After the successful completion of a great project, that’s when you can become most vulnerable as a follower of God. But Nehemiah realizes the walls were only the first step. In spite of the victory that they have experienced, the fatigue they may feel, and the sense of accomplishment they may have, this is just the beginning.

Nehemiah teaches us several things about the journey of faith. First, servants of God retain a future focus. Yes it is about the immediate work of God before us but great servants understand this is just part of a larger plan and greater work and thus always keep an eye toward the future and the next thing which needs to be accomplished for God. Nehemiah finishes the wall and then immediately goes to the next thing. The wall is completed, but the servant of God knows the work is never done. So Nehemiah doesn’t stop and rest in his success, he moves on to the next challenge and continues to work for the welfare of God’s city, God’s people and ultimately the salvation of the world. Now that the walls are complete and the city can once again be a safe place to live, Jerusalem now needs to be rebuilt. 42,360 people had traveled back from Persia out of captivity to resettle in their homeleand. All were Jews and yet none of them were natives. They had all been born in Persia. So many of those settled in other towns around Jerusalem, or in the country, and that had left the holy city of God completely abandoned, except the few priests and others connected to the temple of God. Now that the walls were rebuilt, the next task becomes to rebuild the city and that starts first getting people to commit to make Jerusalem their home. The walls may be done but the work is just beginning.

Servants of God live and work from the perspective of eternity. They always have a forward focus. Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It’s about the heroes of the faith. It’s like a Hall of Fame of faith. It defines faith as a forward focus. People of faith never stay mired in the present but always look forward to what God is seeking to do next. There are two kinds of people: settlers and pioneers. People of faith are never settlers. Pioneers are always moving forward claiming new territory, new land and new realities. Settlers always come in behind pioneers and plant roots. They stay right where they’re planted. Once they’ve got things just the way they like them, they never want them to change. People of faith never settle in the present. They keep pioneering toward God’s promising, preferred future. It’s not about what God has done in the past, as wonderful as that may have been, nor is it about what you’re doing right now but rather faith is about what wants to do through the future. It’s about the in breaking of the kingdom and what we can do next to help make that a reality and bring it to fruition. If you don’t keep that forward focus, you begin to live in the past. You begin to draw your identity and meaning from things that have happened and not what God is calling you to do. You’ve heard that expression "remember when?" You don’t want to become a "remember when" person. When you quit living for the future, you begin to die. Yet that’s where a lot of people are. Most people don’t know they’re dead. They’re the living dead, because when you quit living for the future, you die.

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