Jump Start #3161
Jump Start # 3161
Nehemiah 4:10 “Thus in Judah it was said, ‘The strength of the burden bearers is failing, yet there is much rubbish; and we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.’”
Momentum—the big MO, is vital to success in business, winning in sports and finishing our journey with the Lord. You notice at the airport, when a plane is sitting still, yellow blocks in front of the wheels. Those blocks keep the plane from moving. Before a plane takes off, those yellow blocks have to be moved by the ground crew. But when a plane is landing, it is going so fast that it could crash through a wall. It’s the law of momentum. Often, it’s hard to get going, but once it’s going, it’s hard to stop it.
Our verse today, taken from Jerusalem after the Babylonians had sacked the city, illustrates common momentum stoppers.
First, a loss of strength (the strength of the burden bearers is failing). Earlier, the text tells us that the builders had been demoralized. When strength is gone, weakness, fatigue, and defeat take over.
Second, a loss of confidence (we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall). We can’t do it. It’s too much. And, with that, the towel is tossed in, the white flag is raised and one is conquered.
Third, a loss of vision (there is much rubbish). This wasn’t a new fact. It had been this way for nearly 100 years. The goal and focus became blurred and the work would soon stop if something didn’t change.
Four, a loss of security (our enemies said—4:11). In verse 12, “they came and told us TEN TIMES, ‘they will come up against us…” Fear drains momentum.
Spiritually, shepherds need to watch for this in a congregation. Tired sheep. Tension among the flock. Sheep not feeding well. All of these can kill the momentum in a congregation. There are great periods of energy, such as special meetings, baptisms, hiring a new preacher, but if not careful, those great peaks of momentum soon die out. Rather than capitalizing on them, we lose those moments.
For Nehemiah, he went into action. He prayed (4:4,9). He equipped the people (4:13). He recognized their spirit and condition (4:14). He got the people back to the task they were to do (4:17). He grasped the value of connections and communication (4:19-13).
Nehemiah didn’t let the enemy have the last word. He didn’t stop the job that they were to do. He had an eye on the people. He recognized what needed to be recognized. Today, people shuffle in to the church building, stressed, worried, worn out, and what they don’t need is a long series on the evils of Calvinistic theology. Certainly, things could be learned in such a series, but look at the people. Where are they and what do they need at the moment? What is keeping them awake at night? What is it that they really need?
So, a few suggestions:
First, after a big event, such as a Gospel meeting, or a men’s workshop or a ladies day, follow up with that and use those thoughts as a spring board to keep things moving.
Second, developing a theme that fits the congregation and then sticking with that theme by having classes and Gospel meetings built around that will keep these concepts in the eyes of the church.
Third, sometimes it’s not more activities we need down at the church house, but more tools to help us grow in faith. We could have something every day of the week but that too can be very draining and trying upon people. Some of our best growth comes from quiet times. Reflection. Observation. Meditating. Praying. Provide tools to help personal growth.
Nehemiah witnessed what happens in most projects. From the idea stage, to the planning phase, to the call for workers, to the ground breaking, there is a lot of talk, excitement and anticipation. But the weariness of the work can stop the momentum. Complaining rises. It’s taking longer and is harder than anticipated. A good leader will be ready. He’ll jump in and lead the people to finishing what was started.
Keep the Big Mo going! Passionate prayers. Enthusiastic singing. Sacrificial giving. Powerful preaching. A desire to want to be there. A desire to excel in the Lord.