Nehemiah 2:1-10, Psalm 137:1-9, Hebrews 12:18-24
There is a holy sort of confidence that comes from knowing that you are working under God’s calling on your life. It’s not prideful or arrogant, and it’s certainly not a confidence that expresses itself in brash talk or seeks to put down others.
We catch a glimpse of this holy confidence in the life of Nehemiah. For a myriad of socio-political reasons, Nehemiah’s undertaking should have been an impossible one. Power, money, and the dominant culture and thinking in his day would have surely been working against him in rebuilding Jerusalem. Yet Nehemiah set out with courage and passion because he knew the “gracious hand of God” was on his life, a fact that he mentions and remembers in his heart several times (Nehemiah 2:8).
All too often, we falter in our own missions because we forget or neglect the power of our calling. More than Artaxerxes’s commissioning, Nehemiah knew he had been sent out under the authority and presence of God. This gave him courage to be bold in his pursuit of God’s causes, and it also offered reassurance when he encountered resistance.
When you go out this day, remember Who is sending you. Like Nehemiah, keep your focus fixed there—not on the problem or challenges in front of you, but on God’s power to change the unchangeable, to conquer the unconquerable, and to restore the unrestorable.
For those of you who already possess a deep sense of God’s calling and hand on your life, remember to steward it well. That holy confidence comes with divine expectations; it’s not a gift that you’re meant to wield for your own purposes or gain. In fact, Scripture is laced with examples of leaders who misused the influence of their calling. This repeatedly backfires, and usually carries with it a great deal of collateral damage.
For those of you who have lost your sense of calling, or perhaps are seeking it for the first time, take heart: Nehemiah’s mission came in the midst of some dire circumstances. Also, keep watch: God’s vision and mission for this season of life may look different from what you anticipated. When your spirit senses His commissioning, take hold of it and refuse to let it go, and rest assured that His gracious hand is on you.
Written by Andrew Stoddard