Faith, Focus, Finish!

Manteo Mitchel (left) of the USA team. Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images
In this
series of posts on Nehemiah, we see the character of God revealed through
Nehemiah’s actions in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. After receiving from King
Artaxerxes permission to rebuild, he engaged the Jewish people saying “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.”  I told them about the gracious hand of my God
upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “let us start
rebuilding.”  So they began this good
work.
(Neh. 2:17, 18)

Throughout
the account of Nehemiah we see his faith,
his focus, and his passion to finish a good work. 

His faith is revealed as he told them that
the hand of God was upon him.  He prayed
at least eleven times regarding the rebuilding of the walls.  From beginning to end, whether it was his
response to opposition or the need to encourage the people, he spoke words of faith that revealed a heart
of faith
. Revealed faith is the outward manifestation of inner transformation.
Every leader must have faith to lead, faith to encourage, and faith to finish
the good work to which God has called you.

Nehemiah’s focus is first revealed as he spoke of
the specific work to be done; ‘come, let
us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem’
. He engaged the people with that same
focus; rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. These rock walls were originally 8
feet thick. Tens of thousands of the rocks lay scattered and strewn about the
city. The wooden gates, hinges and framing were burned beyond repair. The city
was not a city. It was a collection of buildings without walls of protection
for community and without an identity.  It
was a disgrace. Nehemiah did not repair other
buildings
… not houses, not streets, and not market places. He focused on
the walls! Leaders must be focused toward the good work God has for you.  Without focus you will scatter your energy,
water down your vision, and diminish the impact and effectiveness of your
ministry.
 

A passion to finish is revealed in the
emotional description of the condition of the city;  you see
the trouble we are in’; Jerusalem
lies in ruins, it’s gates are burned; we will no longer be in disgrace
.  Nehemiah wept, fasted, prayed, repented, and humbled himself in so many ways because
of the heart wrenching knowledge that his beloved home town was defenseless,
vulnerable, and in disgrace. Every leader must come to a place of great
humility, sometimes disgraced in the eyes of men, before there emerges a
refined heart and a finishing passion. It
is from this heart and passion that God’s plan goes forth to finish the work to
which we are called.
Humility emerges from burning away superficial cares
and extraneous distractions of the world. It allows the silver and gold
handiwork of God’s kingdom to come through us. 

A recent event
from the Olympics in London reflects these principles found in Nehemiah. An
American sprinter named Mitchell was in the 4X400 meter relay (1600 meters).  In the semi-final qualifying race, Mitchel
broke his lower leg half way through his part of the race. The leg was completely fractured! Normal men would have stopped,
writhed in pain, and failed to finish thus losing the race. However Mitchell
ran on and finished his segment
handing the baton to his teammate who went
on to win the race and qualify for the finals. A doctor said that if Mitchell
would have taken two or three more steps the broken bone would have burst
through the skin of his leg. The relay team, with a replacement for Mitchell, went
on to win the silver medal in the finals.  When asked by the media what drove him to
continue running in such pain, he said
his lifestyle is shaped by 3 words; Faith, Focus, Finish.
What an inspiring
account of commitment to finishing! 

Mitchell is
a modern day Nehemiah pushing beyond opposition; pushing beyond normal, pushing
beyond the realm of the natural into the supernatural to finish a ‘good work’! You can be a Nehemiah! You have faith. You have focus. You MUST finish
the work of your calling; the work of bringing God’s kingdom through you!

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