Big Idea: God created us for fruitful labor and to be a blessing to our city and the nations. We can be used of God by following Nehemiah’s example of using his vocation for realizing God’s plans and purposes.
I. Review of a theology of work
A. Sin increased the difficulty, frustration, and futility of work.
B. We were blessed to be a blessing, as we seek the welfare of our city.
C. Metaphors and examples of blessing
D. In heaven we will have meaningful labor.
II. Case study: Nehemiah changed his world through leveraging his faith and his vocational platform.
A. Searching for information – how are things really going? (1:2-3)
B. Engaging emotionally with what we see and hear (1:4)
C. Interceding by claiming the promises of God (1:4b-11)
D. Leveraging vocation toward missional purpose (2:1-8)
E. Having the courage to admire the problem (2:9-16)
F. Provide solutions.
1. Avoiding distraction
2. Pushing through fear
3. Shovels and swords together
III. What about you?
A. Ask and listen to the needs around you.
B. Emotionally engage with our city; soften your heart. Weep with Jesus over those who wouldn’t come. Inspect the breaches; admire the problem.
C. Conquer your/our fear.
D. Ask God how He might use you.
1) How meaningful is your work to you right now? Does it fill you up or empty you?
2) What are your biggest frustrations with work?
3) What are your biggest joys?
4) Are you concerned about the needs of others (your neighbors, the city)? How do you express interest in how the city is doing?
5) How connected is your work with your faith? Are they two totally separate spheres of your existence? Or are they completely integrated? Somewhere in between? How does your workplace handle expressions of faith? How open or closed to matters of faith is your place of work?
6) What active steps do you take to “inspect the breaches in the walls,” to admire the problems of our city? Do you avoid the breaches? Do you get preoccupied with them?
7) What constructive solutions have you found to close the breaches? What shovels and swords do you find most helpful?
8) What single step of obedience should you take as a result of hearing God’s truth today?