This is part 6 of 7 in a series about Nehemiah.

The startup phase is not just busy—it’s downright tumultuous. A good entrepreneur knows that sometimes she needs to lift her head up and work “on” the business and not just “in” the business.

As such, if we aren’t intentional about lifting our heads up, we will chronically stare down at the work on our desk and never get out ahead of the load. These “heads up” times are when we see opportunities we have missed because we were so busy trying to keep our heads above water.

More to Do

Once the structure of the wall was up and complete, Nehemiah had one of these work “on” the business experiences. He looked up from the work and realized there was much still to make right. The land was rife with systematic injustice, and Nehemiah would have none of it.

You see, if we understand the “gospel of the Kingdom,” the Good News is not just that Jesus died for our sins (as if that weren’t good enough already!), but that God is actually taking back the world that is already His (Psalm 24:1). A large part of taking back His land involves God bringing justice for the oppressed, a desire of God’s heart that is hard to miss.

Economic Justice

But Nehemiah went further. Like Paul after him, he refused to make use of his rights because he loved the mission of God so much and wanted no one to be confused about what he was really after. During his entire tenure as governor of Judah, neither Nehemiah nor his brothers ate the food allowance that came with the position (Nehemiah 5:14, 1 Corinthians 9, 2 Thessalonians 3:8). He saw the poverty around him and decided to be a blessing to others at his own expense.

Nehemiah refused to join other leaders of his day in lording it over those they were supposed to serve “because of the fear of God” (5:15).

Much like the Jews of the day, many of our employees are used to “heavy burdens” being laid on them. There is all the more power behind your message when your title is “CEO,” but you sweep the floors and metaphorically wash the feet of your subordinates.

The Bigger Picture

Nehemiah saw the bigger picture: not just the wall but the larger development of God’s Kingdom. That’s why He brought justice, refused to exact more taxes and make use of his rights, and persevered until it was all complete. He entertained 150 Jews and officials every day, as well as a number of people who came from the nations around them (v.17).

As we join Nehemiah in lifting up our heads to see what the LORD is doing around us, may we join him in giving up our rights and making full use of our opportunity to bring the gospel of the Kingdom to the nations we serve.

Greg is the President of OPEN USA. He used his education to work as a tentmaker in the Middle East for 8.5 years seeking to plant a church amongst a least-reached people group. Currently back in the USA with his wife and children, they aim to return to finish what the LORD used them to start.

To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.

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