The Gathering, the church I attend in Muncie, began its first series of the year yesterday. As I walked into the sanctuary, I immediately noticed something was different about the room. Chalk boards lined the whole length and width of the left wall.
“Before I die, I want to …,” the black slates read, over and over again in rows.
One person had taken chalk to the board and wrote in “… change the world,” after the repeated phrase.
Waiting on the World to Change
Starting in Nehemiah 1, our pastor, Joshua, started to paint a picture of the character and faith of Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king. After hearing that the people of Israel have been scattered, and the walls of Jerusalem have been broken down and burned with fire, Nehemiah weeps.
But he doesn’t just stop there. He prays with devotion for those who are hurting or have turned away; he then confesses on behalf of all of Israel (v. 6-7).
Then, starting in verse 8, he prays for grace and restoration. “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name’” (NIV).
Nehemiah saw what was happening in his world and did something about it. Although he lived in a much different time, when news could take as much as 45 days to get from one city to the next, he didn’t turn away from the information. He ran toward it.