Building Up or Tearing Down

Today’s Scripture Readings:
Psalm 87:1-7 | Nehemiah 5:14 — 7:6 | 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 | Proverbs 21:8-10

Today’s Scripture Focus: Nehemiah 5:14- 7:60 

“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you? Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.” Neh. 6:3-4 (NIV)

Tearing down is simple.  Building up is an art.  Anyone can criticize;  it takes no great skill to see the problems.  It takes a real leader not to be distracted by the words that tear down; to keep to the task despite criticism.

The world is filled with critics (so is the church–when will realize that there is no “gift of criticism” listed in scripture?).   They are good at seeing the obvious, and get stuck on the problem rather than trying to be part of the solution.  Nehemiah had his critics.  They kept harassing him with their complaints.

Anyone in a leadership role must learn to deal with criticism.  Nehemiah was in the midst of this leadership lesson.  I love his response to the criticism: “I am carrying out a great project and I can’t come down.”  He refused to be distracted by the criticism of Tobiah and Sanballat.

Tobiah and Sanballat had evidently gone to the school of Telemarketing, and kept pestering Nehemiah again and again.. Nehmiah remained devoted to the task and undeterred from his vision of rebuilding the walls.  He would not stop building just because a few words were aimed his way to tear him down.

When the criticism became almost unbearable, he took it to the Lord.  “But I prayed, ‘now strengthen my hands.” (6:10)  When the criticism seems too much to bear, take it to the Lord and ask him to fill you with his strength to stick to the task he has called you to do.

With Joy,

Pastor Jeff

A Few Related Quotes:

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”  — David Brinkley —

“There is nothing as easy as denouncing.  It doesn’t take much to see something is wrong.  But it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again.” — Will Rogers —

“Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” — Aristotle —

“If you’re willing to stand apart from the crowd, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position, so count on some degree of criticism.”  — John Maxwell Be a People Person, 119. —

“You will be criticized. So it might as well be for doing the right thing.” Dan Southerland, Transitioning, 118.

Tomorrow’s Scripture Readings:
Psalms  88:1-7
Nehemiah 7:61-9:21
1 Corinthians 9:1-18
Proverbs 21:11-12

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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