February 20, 2023
Recording Our Progress
Nehemiah - “Jerusalem was a large city, but not many people were living in it and not many houses had been built yet. God inspired me (Nehemiah) to assemble all the people and to check their records. I located the records of those who had first returned from captivity. This is the information I found.” (Nehemiah 7:4-5)
In a growing business, family or friendship, keeping track of people and their progress is important. Contrary to popular belief, keeping track of others shows that we believe they are important. Successful people stay in tune with God, and the Lord wants us to keep track of the people around us. God inspired Nehemiah to count and check the records of all the people living in Judah (Nehemiah 7:6-69) because: 1) They were making great sacrifices to return to their homeland, and 2) They rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem.
The second task of accomplishment is keeping good records. In Proverbs, we read, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks. Give careful attention to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23). Often, when we think of keeping records we think of financial accounting. But in this passage, Nehemiah isn't talking about that kind of accounting. He's talking about the accounting of people. People are way more important than money. We ought to keep as good of records of people in the organization as we do of the money. Jesus once said, “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep.” (John 10:14). In this, Jesus sets the standard for us in keeping records of His people.
Once, a pastor was sharing in a pastor’s conference about how important it was to keep attendance records in the church. One pastor approached him and said, “You’re just trying to turn ministry into a numbers game. The presenting pastor asked his inquisitor, "Do you count the offering?" "Sure," he replied. The presenting pastor then said, "So what you're saying is that money is more important than people." The questioning pastor couldn’t help but see the point of the presenting pastor.
The second thing that Nehemiah did in this chapter was take a census. Not only does he learn how many people there are but he discovers who the people are. Interestingly enough, this is the longest chapter in Nehemiah. People often skim over it quickly because it's mainly a list of genealogies. Many readers often wonder why the Lord included it in the Bible? The names of these people don't mean much to us today but they meant a lot to Nehemiah in his day. People were important to him then and people should be important to us today as well.
Here’s the point: God remembers and recognizes every step of faith we take. In Nehemiah 7, it’s like the Lord wanted to have a wall rebuilding Hall of Fame. Thousands of years later we know the names of the people who rebuilt the wall, who had enough faith to leave Persia and come back to their homeland to try to rebuild the temple. God remembers and recognizes every step of faith we take. God thought enough to these people to include them in the Bible. So how does that impact us today? For starters, we should desire for our names to be on God's honor role? If the Lord made a list of people who are doing His will, would we make the list? Is there anything in our lives that shows outwardly that we've done something on faith? Is there anything which shows that we’re trying to live for the Lord and do what He wants us to do? If the Lord keeps good records, and we know that He does, we should strive to give Him good things about us of which to keep a good accounting.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
How are you at keeping records, especially when it deals with people? Take some time today to review your personal or business records, making them as efficient and informative as possible. If you’re leading your family through this devotion time, dialogue about how we should live if we want to be on God’s honor role. Then pray that God would help each member of your family strive toward that goal.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I know that people matter to You, so when I’m interacting with them, help me to keep good records. And please help me live a life worthy of being on Your holy honor role. In Jesus’ name, Amen.