Random Fact: I like scarves. I am glad it’s getting cold enough to wear one on a regular basis and not seem like I am robbing a bank.
Ok, on to the real stuff.
Currently, I am doing the Kelly Minter study on the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is an Old Testament book. It’s a wonderful book. I think it would actually make a really great movie. There is a lot of drama and some intrigue. You should check it out. It’s usually thought of as a leadership book. As in, see a project and follow the example of Nehemiah as you do it. He was a great leader. Nehemiah rebuilt a whole wall in 52 days, through the strength of the Lord. He mobilized a people group to leave their cushy life and return to the promise God had laid out for them. And he did it all by staying faithful to God and by surrendering every aspect of his life to the work of God.
Nehemiah was set up in a position of authority over the Jewish people. He was their mayor. In the past, the Jewish people living in Jerusalem and around it’s outskirts were ruled by a Persian mayor or governor. And they were taxed excessively so that the person in authority could live a lavish lifestyle. It was expected that a person in authority had the right to use the taxes for his own personal gain. There was a very large land and food allotment that the authority figure also received. In addition to the taxes. All this to say that when the Jewish people were in Jerusalem, they were very heavily burdened by all this taxing.
When Nehemiah came in to his position of authority, he took a different approach than his predecessors. He said in Nehemiah 5:19 “Out of reverence for God, I did not act like that.” And then in 5:19 “…I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.”
So in this Bible study, there are five days of homework a week. And we were asked on the day we looked at this passage (Neh. 5:14-19), “Is God asking you to lay down an entitlement in a situation you are justified to hold onto it? If so, what do you see as the greater purpose of relinquishing this right?” (K. Minter Nehemiah) That hit me so hard. Because I’m American. Yes, I have been a Jesus follower from a young age. I know all about being a servant and surrendering my will to God’s will (not that this is something I have a grasp on, but I know about it). But to lay down an entitlement, a right that I am justified in keeping? That is hard. If I am really honest, it might be to hard.
I am a stay at home mom, and I have three kids. And when I prayed about what right I am holding to tightly to, that I am justified to, time came to my mind. Specifically “my time”. I am so covetous of the time I get for myself and with my husband. Time to renew yourself and time with you spouse is absolutely GOOD. Please don’t take this as a reason to pour out everything you are to your children until there is nothing left of yourself. That is not where this is going. What I am saying, is that I need a more balanced look. When I get time to myself or with my husband I can become gluttonous about it. As in, I have had a little bit and now I want more. And then more. And more. I get mean and cranky with those that would interrupt that time with my spouse or the time I have for myself. That is not right. When I start being selfish and demanding about my time, it’s become an idol.
That is what the Lord showed me. That I need to relinquish the iron-clad grip I have on ‘my’ time. Yes, I will set aside time for myself and my spouse. But I also need to be pouring more into my kids. And taking some of that ‘me’ time and making it ‘us’ time for me and my kids. That is the greater good that will be served by relinquishing the control I have over what I do with my time.
What about you? Do you have a ‘justified right’? Is there a greater good that could be served by letting go of the right?