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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Man With Many Hats

I remember a man in my past that was very influential to me.  I had studied the Word of God with this man many times and I always made sure to listen when he spoke.  I didn't always agree with what he said, but I dearly loved his passion and zeal.  This man had a saying that he told us every Lord's Day when the men gathered to pray before the service.  He would say, "Men, we are a small congregation.  In a small congregation you must wear several different hats and often at the same time.  Make sure you have them all on and get ready to serve today."  As I read Nehemiah, I can't help but notice that "hat wearing" ability in him.

Max Lucado describes Nehemiah like this, "You can find the tenderness of Abraham Lincoln, The fire of General George Patton, and the savvy of Winston Churchill all in one man.  Nehemiah."

When we first read Nehemiah he is wearing the hat of a prayer warrior. Neh 1:4   Here is where we see the "Lincoln" in Nehemiah.  He is overwhelmed with compassion on people that are oppressed and vulnerable.  It must be noted here that before Nehemiah prayed for materials to rebuild the wall he first prayed for forgiveness.  Neh 1:5-11   Leaders who make a difference pray with burdened compassion because they know God alone can mend shattered lives and heal broken hearts.  The greatest leaders are those with compassion.  

Next we see Nehemiah wearing the cup-bearer hat.  He is serving the King Artaxerxes.  This is where we see him ask for the lumber, after he asked for forgiveness from God. Neh 2:8   

Nehemiah trades in his royal hat and puts on a hard hat.  We see him as the inspector in Neh 2:13,15   As usual, when someone tries to work for the Lord and accomplish His Will according to His Word they are faced with mockers.  Neh 2:19   We too, must expect this as well. Far too many leaders are discouraged because they are mocked and despised for trying to be obedient.  This type of persecution should be expected.  2Ti 3:12   When we want to be used by God we must understand that often times that comes with assuming the weight of a burden.  God's Word commands us to "bear one another's burdens" in Gal 6:2  The wall gets finished and the glory is given to God. Neh 6:15,16  

After the wall is built Nehemiah takes off the hard hat and puts on the cup-bearer hat again.  He was gone for 12 years and many bad things happened while he was gone.  Neh 13:6,7  

When he returns he hangs up the cup-bearer hat and put on a house cleaning hat.  Neh 13:8,9  Nehemiah returns to find the wall was strong, but the people were weak.  Faith was forgotten and discipline was a cuss word.  

He finally puts on one last hat.  He takes off the house cleaning hat and puts on a teacher's hat.  Nehemiah restores the things in the Word of God.  He restores tithes. Neh 13:10-12  He then restores the Sabbath.  Neh 13:15-17,22  Finally, he removed mixed marriages.  Nehemiah was not what you would call typical and didn't remove remove mixed marriages in a typical way. Neh 13:25

Nehemiah was great man.  He was not great because he was successful in restoration.  He was great because he knew his success depended upon the Almighty God.  While Nehemiah kept changing hats, he continually had on his servant's hat.  The measure of a person's greatness is not according to how many serve them, but in how many they serve!

Today, will you put on several hats and serve those who are in need?  May we be similar to Nehemiah and find ways to better our community.  Nehemiah did it, not for praise, but for the Lord and so should we.  May we all show God's love to others by our deeds and not just our tongue. 1Jn 3:18   


We must hear the Word of God:  Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4

We must believe or have faith:   Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31

We must repent of our sins:  Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30

We must confess Christ before others:  Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37

We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38

We must be faithful:  Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22   


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