I, like most people who have worked in an office or corporate environment, hate meetings. I cannot adequately express to you how much I loathe meetings. My two biggest problems with them are: 1. the purpose usually isn’t clear and 2. the wrong people are often around the table. Is anyone else with me on this?
A meeting is often pointless if there’s not a clear direction or intention. And if there’s not a clear direction, I can almost guarantee you that the wrong people around the table.
A Clearly Stated Purpose
“And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”” Nehemiah 2:5 (ESV)
Nehemiah’s focus was clear. He had an objective in his sights and he was specific with his request. After Nehemiah finished his pitch, the King asked for more information and clarification—how cool is that?! He asked for a timeframe and wanted to know exactly when Nehemiah would be returning. Once he had that information, he was willing to release Nehemiah to do what he believed he needed to do.
What’s your focus in this season?
An On-Mission Group of People
Nehemiah wasn’t about to start down the major task of rebuilding the wall surrounding Jerusalem without a team supporting him. He wasn’t going to try and be the Savior of the people of Israel, he knew he was one piece in a multi-faceted and complex puzzle. He didn’t need his brand to be the talk of the town or be trending on Twitter; he had work to do and needed a team to do it.
His first order of business was to send the letters to the right people so he could have the right resources for the job. Talk about wisdom! He knew that he wasn’t going to be able to do this all on his own, so he strategically contacted the right people.
“And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.” Nehemiah 2:7-8 (ESV)
Who are you building with?
Bringing Purpose and People Together
Once you know your focus, you’re able to slot your relational resources appropriately. Now, I’m not saying that we need to become consumers and use the people around us, that’s not good for anyone involved! But there are strategic partnerships that we can have with those around us.
For example, last year I focused heavily on writing my novel. When I finished my most recent draft, I knew that it wasn’t good enough and that I needed some outside help. So, as much as it pained me, I asked for help. Then, for about eight months, I worked weekly with an editor and paid for their services and expertise. This strategic partnership helped me tremendously! She was able to give me insight into the writing and publishing process that I wouldn’t have been able to get on my own. With her help, I was able to get to the place of being able to pitch the book to publishers and literary agents. Now, I’m working diligently and praying for the next right strategic partnership, trusting that it will come at the right time.
So, what’s your purpose for this season?
And who are you building with?
I encourage you to go after that thing you’re focusing on wholeheartedly today and take a few moments to thank those who are supporting you.
And, if you’re feeling unsupported and isolated in this season, I encourage you to get clear on your vision and then get specific about what you need. Pray about it. Seek the Lord intentionally. Ask specifically for what you need and then sit and listen.
Nehemiah reminds us that we shouldn’t ever embark on a project alone. After all, the Lord reminds us again and again, that we weren’t made to live in isolation but in a supportive community. I pray we all have the courage to reach out to those people today.