Nehemiah had a good job. He was employed by a king and had earned tremendous respect in the Persian kingdom. His job was not exactly easy; a bad day for a king’s cupbearer could be deadly. Nonetheless, Nehemiah worked hard and was a positive presence within King Artaxerxes inner circle. Nehemiah’s life had meaning. What more could he want?
One day while Nehemiah was performing his duties to the king, he met a man from Judah named Hanani. Hanani told him that Nehemiah’s ancestral home of Jerusalem was in “great trouble and shame”(Neh. 1:3a). The city’s walls were “broken down” and its gates were “destroyed by fire” (Neh. 1:3b). This news crushed Nehemiah’s spirit and he mourned and fasted for days (Neh. 1:4). It would have been easy for Nehemiah to say to himself, “What can I do about Jerusalem? God will raise up someone for the task.”
Nehemiah’s distress led to prayer. Prayer led Nehemiah to the promises of God’s Word. The promises of God’s Word convinced Nehemiah that Hanani’s news was meant for him. God was calling him to serve! Nehemiah had no idea how such a thing could come to pass. He realized that a task this large would require nothing less than God’s grace (Neh. 1:5-11).
When Nehemiah surrendered himself to God and entrusted the needs of Jerusalem to the “God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments” (Neh. 1:5), a miracle occurred. The king saw Nehemiah’s concern and passion for Jerusalem and granted him a leave of absence to go and serve his people. Not only did Artaxerxes let a trusted servant go, but he also financed the endeavor. Nehemiah was able to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem!
Nehemiah was called to serve, and I firmly believe that God is calling Missouri Baptists to serve our Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). I have been the chairman of the Nominating Committee for the MBC in 2011 and our president, John Marshall, has asked me to serve in this same capacity in 2012. The committee’s primary function is to present a slate of nominees to the Convention at our annual meeting to serve as board members of the Executive Committee of the MBC, Christian Life Commission, and Historical Commission. The Nominating Committee also submits candidates to fill the open trustee positions for Hannibal-LaGrange University, Southwest Baptist University, and the Children’s Home (trustees are selected by our committee for the Baptist Home, the Baptist Foundation, and Missouri Baptist University; however, those nominees are not recognized by these institutions).
To fill these positions we need Missouri Baptists to volunteer. Many of you, like Nehemiah, have wonderful churches and fulfilling careers. You do not need any more responsibilities. But what does God want? Is God calling you to reach further and do more for His Kingdom? Will you pray about serving the MBC?
A key component in the success of the Southern Baptist Convention has been its desire to “cooperate.” The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 exhorts Southern Baptists to “cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom.” Cooperation is in our DNA!
Nehemiah had a good job. I pray that you, too, have a good job and a fulfilling ministry in the local church. Yet, Missouri Baptist boards and agencies need your help. There is much kingdom work to do. Please go to mobaptist.org and click on the “MBC Nominating Committee” quick link on the home page. This will take you to a page that will link you to a “Profile Sheet,” if you are willing to submit your name for the Nominating Committee’s consideration, or to a “Nomination Form,” if you would like to recommend a fellow Missouri Baptist. If you prefer a hard copy of the Profile Sheet or Nominating Form, contact Carla Stegeman at the MBC offices at (573) 636-0400.
Think of the blessings Nehemiah would have missed had he stayed in Susa. What blessings are you missing by not participating in Missouri Baptist life?
Jeremy Muniz / Pastor, FBC Desoto