Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where are the Leaders?

In my morning devotions I have been reading about the Jews returning to Israel from exile. When they returned to Jerusalem, the city was in ruins. One of their first tasks was to rebuild the wall around the city so it would be a safe place to live. Nehemiah 3 lists the community leaders who each adopted a certain section of the wall to rebuild. It is a wonderful picture of what can happen when a group of people band together, each doing their part, to get the job done.

However, there is a very intriguing phrase in verse five about one set of leaders. In verse five it says that the Tekoites made repairs "but their nobles did not lift a finger to help their supervisors." The Tekoites were from the small town of Tekoa, which in historical times was the home of David's "mighty men." Though we do not know the whole story, from this verse, and from other places in scripture, it appears that that the general populace of Tekoa was made up of hard working people who you could count on to get the job done. In fact, they are one of only three groups that eventually repaired more than one section of the wall. This indicates that they were not only willing to do their share of the work, but were willing to go beyond the call of duty and do even more than what most other people were willing to do.

Even though the Tekoites were hard working, they had nobles that were not so great. For whatever reason their nobles were not willing to get personally involved in building the wall. Perhaps they thought it was beneath them. Maybe they were too busy entertaining other nobility. For whatever reason, they were not fully supportive of what God had led the people to do. Their lack of support was noted at the time and recorded for all history to read. Thousands of years later we still know of their lack of leadership at a crucial time in history.

I am struck by the powerful parallels in this verse and in our current culture in North America. Many people I know are hard working people. They are trying to earn a living, raise a family, help their neighbor, and make their community a better place to live. But where are our leaders? They are occupied with other things. History will record their lack of leadership in this critical hour.

But I think this verse also applies to the Christian sub-culture that exists inside our overall North American culture. As the walls of Christendom have fallen into ruins, we must begin to share our faith more openly with those around us. We must be bold as we seek to rebuild the spiritual foundations that our society was been built on. A key part of this is personal evangelism. In the last few months I have trained many lay people in how to do evangelism. I am amazed at how many lay people heard about the training in some way other than the pastor, elders or deacons in their church. Those lay people came to the training and are now putting the training in practice. They are to be commended. But where are the leaders? It is shocking to me how many lay people I talk to who tell me that their senior pastor is really not into evangelism. History will record their lack of leadership in this critical hour.

For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus

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