Lord Jesus Christ, You are the light of the world, light of my life. Forgive me when I have denied or neglected Your light in my life.
Read NEHEMIAH 5:1–19
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Independence from relationship is independence from God himself, for he is present in his Body; it is also independence from the way he has designed us to grow” (Henry Cloud).
What do you think: is it right for church members to go on multiple cruises while the pastor’s family struggles to pay their electricity bill? Should missionaries choose to live in cheaper and more dangerous parts of cities while their churches back home replace carpets yet again? When God calls people to forgo gainful employment for the sake of the Gospel, is it their sacrifice alone? How responsible am I for the unpaid woman working with trafficking victims or the volunteer relief worker?
Nehemiah is not so busy with the construction venture that he is deaf to the cries of his co-workers. Bad harvests are putting extreme pressure on families of which the main breadwinners are building the wall; imperial taxes and inflated prices exacerbate destitution. The Law makes provision for times when resources are scarce: loans can be made against land, and labor can clear debt (Lev. 25:36–43). There is something even more critical, however. The merciless creditors are disregarding God’s covenant. They have forgotten that they, along with their victims, are all his people, set free from bondage and given the land as a gift. Exploitation and slavery is dishonoring God among the Gentiles and demolishing community unity being built with the wall.
Fury leads Nehemiah to reflection and practical action. A public meeting ensures that desperate debtors see their injustices confronted and their lenders behaving with humanity. Vague promises are insufficient. Oaths are extracted before the priests and a curse for non-compliance enacted visually. Nehemiah has imperial power to implement this, but also moral authority. He waives the financial privileges of his position and feeds officials and guests out of his own pocket. Solidarity, compassion and generosity must be the response of believers. Resourcing for mission is not just a fringe interest, but the privilege and responsibility of all God’s people.
When has your faith really cost you something? What privileges and rights are you willing to give up for God’s work?
Lord, is my giving in accordance with Your will?
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