And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. ~ Nehemiah 1:3, 4 (ESV)
READING: Nehemiah 1:1-4
Nehemiah was one of the most remarkable leaders in Biblical history. God’s judgment upon Israel sent His people into captivity in Babylon for seventy years. When the Babylonian Empire fell to Persia, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland. Three different expeditions went back. Though the Temple was rebuilt, the city was still in disrepair and vulnerable to attack.
Nehemiah is the man whom God raised up to rebuild the city walls. His story is not unlike the story of church planters who are called to bring rescue to desperate people whose lives are broken and vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.
So what makes a Nehemiah?
Preeminently, he was a man of compassion. Though he had a comfortable job in the Persian palace, he cared about the people back in his homeland. Upon hearing that they were still “in great trouble and shame,” his heart was broken. He wept and mourned for days.
A church planting vision is birthed in compassion for broken people who are on their way to hell apart from Christ. Our visions may include great plans for buildings, programs and influence. But more than anything, church planting starts with a heart of compassion for lost people.
Lord, Grant me a heart of compassion for people who so desperately need You. Remind me of Your grace in saving me. Amen.
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