The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital . . . In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king . . . ~ Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1 (ESV)
READING: Nehemiah 2:1-5
We church planters are an impatient lot. In my third church plant I was determined to begin public services for the new church in March, about a month before Easter.
But my steering committee strongly advised me to wait till the fall. They pointed out that I really didn’t have enough leaders trained to start in March. So I waited. But it was hard! Our launch date was moved forward to September. God blessed the delay. We had a larger core group, more leaders, and afterwards, I was glad for the lesson on patience.
At the end of chapter 1, Nehemiah is expecting to move forward quickly to begin the rebuilding project. He prayed “give success to your servant today” (1:11). Notice he asked this in the month Chislev, November/December in our calendars.
But chapter 2 begins with the month Nisan. That’s April – four or five months later! Like many of us church planters, his attitude was, “Let’s get going – NOW!” But God’s timing is not our timing. It’s important for church planters to learn patience. Why? Because God knows better than we do, and He is the Lord of church planting. Patience is another name for waiting. And waiting upon God with an attitude of humility is one of the prerequisites for church planting leadership.
Father, I submit to Your plans and Your timing. May I move at the speed You choose, to Your honor and glory. Amen.
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