These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem. They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
Dear God, I have gotten a lot of inspiration out of these verses in the past, and I am coming back to them this morning because I am going to use them to speak to a bunch of private school children today during their chapel time. My task is to somehow make affordable healthcare for low-income, uninsured people relevant to children who probably have very few material needs in their home lives. I love this story because it shows a touching of Nehemiah’s heart and his inspiration for accomplishing something in your name. An inspiration his brother or no one else really seems to share. But the other unique thing about Nehemiah is that, as the cupbearer to the king, he seems to be in a unique position to do something about it.
Ever since I first prayed to you over this passage in February 2003, I have looked back on it as a turning point for me. You used that journal to lead me into an entirely new career path. You led me to a cause that touched my heart and inspired me to start volunteering at a nonprofit. Then you led me into working for the nonprofit and now, 15 years later, almost to the day, I am not only working for one nonprofit, but I am in a position to help other causes in town that touch my heart as well.
Father, help me to communicate well to the children, their teachers, and everyone else in the room today. Help me to bring you glory. Give me good seeds to plant and prepare good soil in the hearts of the children so that any lesson that you might have for the children might not be stolen by Satan. And use it to re-inspire me as well. Be glorified through my life, and make the world a little bit better through the ways you use me.
In Jesus’ name I pray,