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The Call Back

The most strategic people in life have a plan for getting back on track. Nehemiah had his hands full working the plan to rebuild the wall when he was alerted to a problematic situation among the people. Times had been hard so the inhabitants resorted to desperate measures. They were frantically mortgaging their homes, their fields, and their futures in order to eat and pay exorbitant taxes. As a result, they were becoming slaves to people they were related to. “Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.” (Nehemiah 5:5) The issue here is that the Jewish people were commanded by God to deal with each other as family. They were brothers and sisters and they were supposed to look out for each other. The goal was to empower them as family units to risk, produce and then reset. This was the purpose of the year of Jubilee. Periodically, the land would be returned to the original family unit so the process could begin all over again.
The problem is that we are all selfish and corrupt so we get off track. We get caught up in the temporal, self-centered pursuits of life and forget about our convictions. We compromise our morals, ethics and commitments in order to feel better today. The shame is not in making mistakes, it is in stubbornly continuing after we have been confronted. When Nehemiah heard the outcry of the people he was very angry (v. 6) and he said to the people who had gotten off track, “You are charging your own people interest! . . . Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us! . . . What you are doing is not right.” (v. 7-9)
It is moments such as these that determine the condition of our hearts and energize our ability to reach the right conclusions. If you resist the call back your heart grows cold and your mind gets stubborn. If, however, you respond in repentance your heart softens and your mind clears. The Jewish leaders who were confronted by Nehemiah woke up immediately. “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.” (v. 12)
I, like you, would love to think that I could do the right thing all the time and it is certainly my goal to do the right thing more and more as I mature. The reality of life, however, is that we all get off track at times and we need to be called back to the narrow path. The quicker I repent the simpler my life becomes. The longer I wait to respond the more complicated things get.
I am pretty sure that sometime in the near future I am going to get a call back to doing things with spiritual integrity and personal excellence. I am practicing my response now, “I will answer the call.”

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