Ooooo, I so love when the sermon is written for me! Ok, so maybe that's a bit narcissistic, as I'm sure that many people in church today were able to apply the sermon to their own lives too, but I have no doubt that God was speaking to me very clearly.
Our Pastor was talking about Nehemiah, and how he hears that the wall of Jerusalem has been broken down, and the gates burned. Nehemiah is heartbroken and leaving his entire life behind, he goes to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. He had a job of esteem as the king's cupbearer, and all the accoutrements, and he simply left, knowing that he had to do something to restore what had been lost in his home town. He encountered ridicule and obstacles, people who didn't understand why this man from another land had come to do this, and enemies who did not want to see Jerusalem restored.
Pastor said that Nehemiah did three things that we need to remember, and follow his lead.
First, he stepped out of his comfort zone. He had a good and safe life, but after fasting and prayer, he left it to do what no one else was willing to do.
Second, He asked for help. How many of us like to ask for help? I know that for me, this is a huge obstacle. Whether it be for the sake of pride, or not wanting to bother people, I have a history of not asking for help. My own pride aside, I know that part of my reluctance to ask for help is based on a history of not being able to count on people when I needed them. When you feel abandoned by those you thought would be there, you learn to do for yourself, rather than risk being let down again. Not a healthy way to live by any means. This is something that I have talked to my sponsor about quite a bit, as I know I need to work on it.
Third, Nehemiah didn't quit when people criticized him. The rebuilding process was harsh, and Nehemiah prayed 'Hear us, O God, for we are despised." What a gut-wrenching prayer from a man who was trying so hard to do what needed to be done, in the face of enemies who sought to destroy them. When his enemies told lies to try to get rid of him, he stood firm on his faith, and did not give up. He knew the Lord was on his side. The story of Nehemiah is so inspiring, and was just what I needed to hear today. Nehemiah surrendered all.
Pastor talked about how our own ministry must start the way that Nehemiah's did - with a broken heart. The most important line from today's sermon for me was this: If you can do it with no help, your dream is too small.