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Rebuilding for the Future

By Michael L. Ruffin

Nehemiah 4:1-6

 

Sometimes churches spend too much time talking about what we need to do and not enough time doing what needs to be done. Sometimes we seem to value planning and discussing more than we value doing.

Have you seen those excellent television commercials advertising the Royal Bank of Scotland? In one of them, a group of people is eating in a restaurant when one of them starts to choke. One man says, “Isn’t Jacobsen choking?” Someone else says, “I’d definitely say Jacobsen’s choking.” The first fellow then says, “I know exactly what to do. I saw it in the movies once. It’s called the Heimlich maneuver.” That launches the diners into a discussion first of how to pronounce “Heimlich” and then how to perform the maneuver. Of course, all the while Jacobsen is choking. Finally, a man from a neighboring table comes over and successfully performs the maneuver on Jacobsen. Then the announcer says, “Less talk — make it happen!”

Now, I’m not downplaying the importance of deliberate, constructive, and thoughtful talk. Good planning is necessary. But if someone is choking to death talk won’t save his life; action must be taken. I am convicted that the future of this church is directly connected with our willingness to take action to help those around us who are choking to death.

They are choking to death on their sins. They are choking to death on their poverty. They are choking to death on their lifestyles. They are choking to death on their loneliness. They are choking to death on their fear. They are choking to death on their materialism. They are choking to death on their emptiness. They are choking to death. It’s time for our church to engage in less talk and in more action. It’s time for us, with the Lord’s help and guidance, to make it happen.

In other words, it’s time to implement our ministry plans. Can we do it? Yes, we can, if we follow some guidelines that emerge from the book of Nehemiah.

We can implement our ministry plans if we have a mind to work (Nehemiah 4:6).

The people, despite the taunts of enemies, worked hard on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah reported, “So we rebuilt the wall, and all the wall was joined together to half its height; for the people had a mind to work.” More literally, the verse says “for it was the heart of the people to work.” They were committed to doing the work; they put themselves into it whole-heartedly.

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