Nehehimah has just prayed a kind of prayer that is self-disclosure at its most honest (Neh 1: 5-11). Most of us wouldn't want to have anyone see us so real, especially in those moments when we are open before God when no one else is around.
After this prayer, a really incredible prayer, Nehemiah tells us what he does. In verse 11 he says – I was cupbearer to the king. He was cupbearer to the king...hmmm. Something about him telling us in this moment, after this prayer, seems to indicate a flair for the dramatic. Or perhaps the dramatic news of the terrible state of God's Holy City has turned a light on in him that opens him up to an old thing in his life but with new eyes. What is Nehemiah’s purpose in telling us so succinctly that he was the cupbearer to the king? I wonder about that. Nehemiah seems to want us to see the opportunity in that – kind of like Esther who had close proximity to the King in her story. Is Nehemiah presented with the same opportunity and responsibility?
This is an important piece to Nehemiah’s assessment and discernment of what God is doing in his life. What opportunities does Nehemiah have that no one else has? This is a necessary ingredient and often a critical mistake that people make. God’s providence is such that He places us in strategic environments, where we can reach people, touch people unlike anyone else. Or another way to see it, the places and relationships we find near us, our spheres of influence “call” us into some action that will propel the purpose and mission of Jesus in the world.
In 2009 121 new families came to FCC for the first time – that’s a lot of people God has placed in our proximity, that’s a lot of opportunity God has brought to us. All signs point to the same or more in 2010. But what about on a personal level? Who is in my life (your life) and circles in whom I can invest God’s love? What opportunities do I simply fail to see that could serve to expand the mission and purpose of Jesus in the world?
Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king. Where are you a "cupbearer to the king?" What opportunities do you have that few other people have? What would "success" (as Nehemiah prayed) look like for you to make the most of a relationship for the growth of God's kingdom?