There are some phrases we’ve turned into something like cliché prayers. That is, we say them without really giving thought to the specifics of what we’re asking or the practical ramifications of what they may entail.
“Bless all the missionaries” is a good for instance.
Another may be, “God, please give us strength.”
The truth is, we do need strength. As spiritual leaders, we have monumental tasks before us. Whether you are a parent, teacher, pastor, Sunday school class teacher, ministry helper, or any Christian leading others in any area, you have been entrusted with responsibilities beyond human ability—reaching the world with the gospel, shepherding young hearts for God, changing lives, building a church, nurturing spiritual growth. And with each of these responsibilities comes obstacles unique to your situation.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and to find ourselves weak in the most vital callings. After all, what is one person against so great a task?
You know the standard answer (also sometimes used as a cliché): With God’s calling comes God’s enabling.
This thought is paraphrased from 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” But how do we experience this truth on the most practical levels? What do we do when our hands are weak but the needs are great?
We find answers to these questions in the life of one of the great leaders of the Bible—Nehemiah. I love the book of Nehemiah for many reasons: It tells us the impossible can be accomplished with God. It speaks to building for God’s glory and refusing to compromise with the world. It is perhaps the most condensed practical volume on leadership principles in the world. And one of the lessons that we learn from Nehemiah is how to stay strong in the work of the Lord.
Nehemiah faced an overwhelming task and was bombarded with relentless opposition. Yet we see in his leadership a level of determination, persistence, and reliance upon God that led to the completion of one of the greatest building programs in history.
How did he do it? How did he keep from giving up in despair or caving in to pressure?
I believe we find a large part of the answer in Nehemiah 6:9: “For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
Strengthen my hands.
It’s more than a cliché. And throughout the book of Nehemiah we glean practical lessons on how this leader kept himself focused and encouraged—how he drew strength from the Lord.
This spring, I wrote a simple minibook from this thought and from the life of Nehemiah that highlights ten practical—and biblically proven—ways to remain strong in the work God has called you to do.
It’s short and concise and is hopefully an encouraging, motivating read. The chapter titles are as follows:
- Remember the Source of Strength
- Commit to a Purpose Larger than Yourself
- Set Direction through Organization
- Practice Teamwork
- Look beyond the Rubbish
- Persist through Opposition
- Refuse To Compromise
- Anchor Your Hope in God’s Word
- Find Your Joy in the Lord
- Give Thanks
The book is available to ship June 10, but Striving Together Publications is taking preorders today through Thursday of this week—with a 50 percent off discount. (The discount makes the book ideal not only for personal encouragement or a gift, but as a church-wide gift to dads on Father’s Day.)
For more information or to order your copy, visit strivingtogether.com.
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