DAY 11: A Leave of Absence . . . and More

“So the king asked me, ‘Why does your face look so sad?’ . . . I said to the king . . . ‘Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?’” (Nehemiah 2:2-3 )

Nehemiah was a “cupbearer” to the king. It was his responsibility to protect the king against poisoning. As such, it would seem that Nehemiah was nothing more than a household servant. But he was actually more than that. Nehemiah was a high-ranking official in the Persian government. He was a trusted and influential advisor to the king. He had significant status among ruling officials in his day.

The book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament opens with Nehemiah receiving the disturbing news about the present conditions in Jerusalem. Despite the work of Ezra who assisted with the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the city was left unsecured. The walls protecting the city were in shambles. The city and her people were exposed and easy prey to enemies. Nehemiah was overcome with grief by all this.

One night the king inquired why Nehemiah appeared so sad. Nehemiah told him what he had learned about Jerusalem. When the king asked what Nehemiah wanted to do about this, Nehemiah was so bold as to request a leave of absence to go and assist the rebuilding of the city’s walls. The king was gracious in responding to his request and gave him the time off to do this.

But that’s not all the king gave Nehemiah. Nehemiah asked for “letters” from the king that would provide safe passage as he traveled the 1,000 miles to Jerusalem. The king provided the letters to secure his safe travel. 

Nehemiah asked for a letter that would make available some of the king’s timber to be used in the rebuilding of the wall. The king provided the letter to grant permission for the timber also. 

But then in addition to what Nehemiah asked of the king, “The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me” (Nehemiah 2:9 b). 

Nehemiah began his conversation with the king by simply asking for some time off. But the king graciously gave him more than that . . . much more.

When you go to God in prayer on behalf of something that is on your heart, in His own way and in His own time, the Lord answers that prayer. But how many times have you noticed that in addition to that answer, you received more than you asked for?   

How about in your capital campaign? As you pray about the Lord’s blessing on this process, do you see how He is answering those prayers maybe in ways far greater than you asked? 

While praying about the kind of gift you will offer to this effort, are you open to the Lord leading you to make a gift greater than you’ve been considering? 

Maybe this is one of those times when the Lord is ready to give you more . . . much more than you ask.