Nehemiah 1:1-11 is the perfect place where I learned how not to be distracted. When Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king, his heart was deeply stirred over the plight of the Israelites back home and the condition of their city. With the king’s permission, he set out to rebuild Jerusalem. He encountered numerous obstacles, but he refused to let them distract him from the task.
I, too, heard the call of God early in my life to be a pastor. It took 20 years to see that calling become a reality, so I kept going to school, getting myself ready and serving.
This is what I learned.
- Make sure you are in the center of God’s will. Nehemiah 1:4-11 … The Lord showed him exactly what to do. God is always at work to accomplish His will so God worked in the heart of the king to be favorably disposed toward the request and to provide everything he needed, so it was with me God helped me not to be sidetracked by serving Him.
- God used people in my life to remind me of my Goal, mentors, good friends and the need to tell God’s story.
- Keeping the goal in site even in crisis. We have had many crises, and God has helped keep me focused just as for Nehemiah. In keeping us in that God-appointed place, carrying out each step of the course.
- Identify your distraction. Nehemiah’s distractions were the enemies of Israelites, mine was the life of business that God kept in control. Thinking about things and people can keep you distracted and sidetracked. Be aware of their potential to get you off track.
Bill Badal is Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist. He was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to the United States as a teenager.