“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.” (Neh. 6:15)

When it was brought to Nehemiah’s attention that there was a need to rebuild the ruined wall around Jerusalem, he had to act. Nehemiah knew God had placed within his heart the need to see the city defenses rebuilt. He prayed for the opportunity to ask King Artaxerxes to look favorably on his desire to go and help. When that chance came, the king asked what Nehemiah wanted to do. Nehemiah asked to be allowed to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. It was not uncommon in that day for the Persian Empire to allow the defeated countries’ defenses to lay in ruin so the subjugated people could not mount a defense again against Persia. Having Nehemiah’s request approved was a sign of Artaxerxes’ great trust in Nehemiah. The king must have trusted Nehemiah. After all, Nehemiah was his cupbearer.

Once in Jerusalem, Nehemiah spent three nights surveying the destruction without telling anyone why he was there. Once he had the lay of the land, Nehemiah told the leaders of the city what God had planned. Immediately, there was opposition to those who had a vested interest in seeing that Jerusalem lay in ruin. People began to plot, threaten and discourage Nehemiah about rebuilding the walls. But the Bible says, “God had brought their plot to nothing.” (Neh. 4:25) God did use the threats to motivate His people to work on the wall and toward the ultimate revival the rebuilding brought to God’s people. Nehemiah eventually had the supporters pledge to see the work done. Still, it was God’s hand that united a foreign king, Nehemiah and the remnant in Jerusalem to see His plan accomplished.

Nehemiah was not a prophet or a priest. He was a civil servant (cupbearer) to Artaxerxes. Still, Nehemiah, as a Jew, knew the significance of Jerusalem for God’s long-term plans to restore His people, God’s people. The rebuilding of the wall was a success because Nehemiah was certain of the call of God and God’s power to accomplish what He called Nehemiah to do. Nehemiah also never allowed threats, internal or external, to remove his focus on the job at hand—rebuilding the wall.

Falls Creek Centennial Campaign Phase II, OU and OSU Baptist Collegiate Ministries and Disaster Relief require attention just like the walls of Jerusalem. The capital campaigns for these Baptist organizations are much like the rebuilding of the wall. There is a silent phase when it is determined what exactly needs to be done, explanations of what will be accomplished and the cost involved. People begin to unite behind the plan and there is motivation along the way when internal and external pressures appear. While your Cooperative Program dollars support OU and OSU Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief and the programs at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, just like the walls of Jerusalem, we must build the buildings for these ministries with the help of individuals.

You may not be a preacher or staff person in a church. You may not live in Stillwater, Norman, Moore or Davis, but the reach of what will be done by the ministries in these places has and will shake the world for God. Nehemiah, a layman, was moved by God to give himself to build, and God used him in a mighty way. But remember, for us as for Nehemiah, it is not just about buildings; it is not merely about the money. It is about the people who will be saved by the Lord through the building process.

Contact me for more information about your gift for the Falls Creek Centennial Campaign and questions regarding other giving opportunities at 405/516-4868, mharkey@bgco.org, or toll free at 800/690-6933.