Devotion: Are you willing or forced?

And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.  And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.  – Nehemiah 11:1-2

May-devotion-pic1-300x225I remember a story about a deacon in the church many years ago. He had lived a pretty rough life to say the least. But after The Lord worked on him, he desired nothing more than to be close to the church and the people of God.

The church had to relocate to different meeting houses over the years. Each time the church moved, this faithful deacon would sell his house and move close to the new meeting house location.

Many people considered this an honorable thing to do, and many still hold this as a precious memory. However, not many followed his example.

Nehemiah chapter eleven gives details of the repopulation of the city of Jerusalem after the wall was finished. Most of the people had taken part in the rebuilding effort and dedicated themselves to the law of God. However, there were only a few who voluntarily gave up the comforts of living in the outlying rural areas and moved inside the city proper. These were praised by those who wanted to stay outside the city. They were willing to knowledge the good work but were not willing to follow.

This reluctance caused the leaders to form a plan to populate the city in a compulsory way. They cast lots so that each tribe was equally required to send one out every ten families to live in the city. The city was populated and could function, but not as well as it could have had the people joyfully volunteered.

Not many are willing to give up their personal comfort for the good of the kingdom of God, even among professing Christians. It would be good if each of us was more like those who voluntarily moved to the city. Their example, shows us that it is better to give up personal comfort for the benefit of the kingdom and the glory of God.

We should examine ourselves and make sure we are not just cheering for those who dedicate themselves to God. We need to be following their example.

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