Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem. And what he saw must have broken his heart—perhaps he felt like those who had once lived in New Orleans and who returned following Hurricane Katrina back in the early fall of 2005. There was nothing but devastation. Nehemiah realized more than ever that the protective stone wall must once again stand tall and sturdy surrounding the City of David. Talk about the need for a big job to be done well! The man was determined to rebuild that wall . . . but where in the world do you start? And how do you get it done? He needed a careful plan.
Not surprisingly, he spent several days putting together that strategic plan. He began by walking through the devastation as he surveyed the damage. According to Nehemiah 2:11–16 , he took plenty of time to think and to pray as he prepared for the days that lay ahead. We read that he didn't discuss his plans with anyone (except the Lord, of course), before he finally called a meeting and broke the news to everyone. Here are Nehemiah's own words as he told of that moment:
Then I said to them, "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach." I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work. (Nehemiah 2:17–18)
No less than 52 days later—in less than two months—the project was completed (read Nehemiah 6:15). The sturdy stone wall was totally reconstructed, new gates were built and hung, and everyone rejoiced! Oh, they had plenty of challenges along the way, they had numerous obstacles from without and within, but each one was overcome as the job was finished in record time. All the leader's work of preparation paid off because the tasks were organized so well ahead of time. As the old saying goes, Nehemiah planned his work then worked his plan.
Maybe you've made some personal goals that involve adopting a healthy lifestyle. If so, that's wonderful! But just as preparation played a vital role in a project of the magnitude of Nehemiah's, so also, we can be sure that the same is true as we face the challenges of change. However, it won't "just happen". A good place for us to start is to face the truth of where we are—acknowledging the toll that bad habits and an undisciplined lifestyle have taken . . . but we can't stop there. We then must map out a plan we'll follow, just like Nehemiah did when he took a walk around the city. That involves preparing our minds and hearts for whatever it will take to reach our goal(s). And then? With enthusiasm and determination, we get underway . . . one day at a time. Therefore, I am calling for a Vision Crusade in January 2017that will include the entire church family.
As a result, I wish I could promise that in 52 days we'll reach the objective(s) that we discover, but I can't. However, I can assure you that you'll see some major changes start to emerge in that relatively short period of time that will be very encouraging and will be owned by the entire church.
Let's plan well! Let's prepare diligently! Let's pray daily!. And then, let's go after it with our whole hearts.
We are a team "pressing forward" for His Glory!!