You might remember a long time ago when Covid first began and everyone was “in this together”. I remember being in line at Starbucks (of course the drive through, since things had shut down) and this car had cut in line! My response was to complain to my wife. The guy had his music loud, kept forgetting to pull forward, and I sat there thinking of the precious time that was wasting away behind this guy who cut me off. We pulled up to the window and it turned out the guy had paid for our whole order! I was in disbelief, apparently he had done this before, it was a normal occurrence.
Some people live generously. Some people tend to give a little more time, money, effort, care than others, and that is what we see in Nehemiah. He cared deeply for God and he cared deeply for his people. When he started working on the wall and seeing the destruction, he had to give everything he had into the project. While he was there he noticed how the people were broken spiritually/relationally just as the wall was physically (Nehemiah 5:1-6). He had to give all he had to fix the people as well as the wall. Not only did he manage the project, he coordinated an effort to right the wrongs with the leaders (Neh. 5:7-13). He also invited over 150 people to his table to take care of them during this rebuilding period (Verse 17). He did not take a tax or payment for any of it, even though it was his right. Nehemiah lived differently, he lived generously.
There is much we can learn from this part of the story, Nehemiah shows us that personal generosity can help reshape a culture. Maybe it is our turn to reshape the culture around us by listening to the Spirit and living generously. Maybe you have time to listen to someone, or you might have gifts or abilities that could benefit someone in need. Maybe someone needs their groceries or coffee paid for. By you giving, it can change the way someone else sees the world Take some time to ask God where you might need to live generously with what He has given you, then do it.
Pastor Jeremy Johnson