At times, the best message preached is not the one that comes from your mouth, but the one that comes from your life. It is one thing to recommend what others should do, it is a far greater thing to actually become the ensample and live out every day in the reality of what you are proclaiming.
After hearing the petitions of the people, Nehemiah confronted the nobles about their abuse of power. He demanded that they restore the money that they had extorted. He explained that they must give back the land that they had taken away from the wall builders who had gotten into financial trouble.
Nehemiah knew that the nobles would not follow his instruction if he didn’t first sacrifice his place of prominence. Although he personally had been chosen by the king to lead the expedition back to Jerusalem, and although he had been given all of the financial benefits from the king, Nehemiah did not exploit his position or his power.
With the right to prominence, and financial benefit, Nehemiah humbled himself, and lived among the poor wall builders. He viewed the work and the unity of the workers as far more valuable than any amount of money or land that he could personally accrue.
He was willing to put what God desired over personal financial improvement.
With Nehemiah’s example in sight, the nobles all followed suit. The people who had been extorted had their land returned to them, and those who had been exploited were repaid the money that had been taken from them.
With his life, not just his words, Nehemiah had preached a loud, convicting message of humility.
Perhaps you are frustrated that those around you are not doing what is right. Perhaps you have a close friend who is making bad decisions, or someone you care about is doing something wrong. Like Nehemiah, you can tell them the truth that they need to hear, but that will only be as strong as the testimony you live out in front of them. Your actions will preach louder than words. So go preach truth with your life.
Food For Thought: Who is your closest friend? Who is your closest family member? What can you do to live truth out in a way that will influence them to do right?