The Art of Perseverance: Nehemiah 2:11-18 (Inspire People to Move)

Persevering through troubled times can be rough on anyone. Especially when you have to lead your family through a trial. Or your employees through economic decline. Or your congregation through turmoil. 

So how do you build and keep momentum? How do you encourage your peeps to move ahead?

Patience & the Big Picture

Check out what Nehemiah did when he arrived in Jerusalem (chapter 2):

11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.

13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.14 Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.

He didn’t ride into town announcing to everyone his bold intentions.

He didn’t try to guilt the people into following him.

He actually waited 3 days. I wonder what he did. I can imagine he spent time with the officials. I can imagine he listened to their distress.

It doesn’t say what he did, but he spent 3 days doing something. And whatever he did, no one knew yet why he was there.

After those 3 days, he took a ride during the night. He needed to see the big picture.

He needed to see what he was dealing with.

This tells me something about Nehemiah: he spent time first with the people before he figured out what to do with the walls.

The people came first.

Buildings fall. Walls crumble. Roof tops crack and peel. But so do people. And people are forever. (Click here to tweet that.)

Nehemiah knew that. So he hung around his people before inspecting the damage to the facility.

Rallying the Troops

Then…he made his speech:

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. ” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

If Nehemiah had said this to a people who barely knew him, I’ll bet their response would be something like, “Wait, who are you? We don’t know you. You don’t know us. Go back to your luxurious living at the palace of the enemy.”

But since he showed his respect and care for them, their response was much different:

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

  • He didn’t guilt them into the work.
  • He didn’t command them to work.
  • He didn’t shame them into the work.

He inspired them. Invited them.

He knew well their distress, showed care for them as his people, and showed them that with the hand of God they can rebuild those walls.

What About You?

How should you change the way you lead others to persevere through a difficult task or time?

Your family needs to see the hand of God on you.

Your congregation needs to see what perseverance with the power of God looks like.

Your organization needs to be inspired to move forward with faith.

It starts with you.

So what are you going to do about it?

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