“So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem…” Nehemiah 2:11-12
There are two phrases, frequently spoken by church members and most often despised by preachers, that are the enemy of positive change in a church: “We’ve never done it that way before.” And, “We’ve always done it this way.”
There’s another phrase, this one generally liked by preachers and appreciated by church members, and usually attributed to Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”
People get stuck in a rut and if they’ve been in that rut long enough they get comfortable there and after a while that rut becomes their place of security, their home. Many times they’ll fight, either actively or passively, any kind of change that comes into their lives that threatens to solve their problems, remove their difficulties, and give them the resources and guidance required to get them out of their rut. It’s crazy but most people would rather keep old familiar problems than embrace new and unknown blessings.
Nehemiah must have known this. Perhaps, as cupbearer to the king, he’d had opportunity to observe this reality enacted as various parties came to do business with the king. However he came by the knowledge, Nehemiah, when it came to rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall, made sure that he didn’t do anything that would engage the opposition until the time was right and he had the information he needed.
Premature advertising of what you’re planning to do gives opportunity for others to erect road blocks before you ever get a chance to even get going. Far better to quietly and prayerfully mature your plans without letting everyone know what you’re doing.
Knowing that most people’s reaction will be to embrace doubt and resist change, keep them unaware that change is coming. Only when God’s given you a plan to build their faith, so that together you can set things right, do you reveal what God’s laid on your heart.
Understand, you’ll never be able to avoid all the forces of opposition, Nehemiah with all his careful planning and skillful execution couldn’t, but he was able to inspire and mobilize the vast majority and that’s what he needed to do.
Friends, faith needs a chance to take root and grow if it’s going to flourish. Don’t give those that will oppose you as you follow God’s leading in your life more of a heads up than you have to.
Repeatedly, Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, advises us to keep our silence and make our words few. When we do this we give others less of a chance to get in the way of our getting to where God is leading us.