Chapel Service

Colorado National Speedway

August 6, 2011

“Impact by Influence”

Bob Butcher

Influence is an interesting thing.

 So often we have no idea just how much influence we have no matter how insignificant we may think ourselves to be in the world, nation, state, city, or town we are part of. 

Let’s look at an individual who set a great example for all of us.

 His name is Nehemiah. Interestingly his name means “Jehovah consoles” or “The Lord God consoles.”  Nehemiah was very obviously a humble man and full of compassion for others, even those he had never met.

 He lived in the days after King Nebuchadnezzar had carried off the Jewish people into captivity to Babylon which is about 55 miles south of Bagdad today.  Babylon was destroyed in 569 BC.

 Nehemiah 1: 1 – 6:      (The Gospel By Bob Version)

1-2The memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.

It was the month of Kislev in the twentieth year. At the time I was in the palace complex at Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, had just arrived from Judah with some fellow Jews. I asked them about the conditions among the Jews there who had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem.

 3 They told me, “The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinder.  We are a laughing stock of ridicule to all.”

 4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven.

 5-6 I said, “God, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to his covenant and faithful to those who love him and obey his commands: Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I’m including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you.

Now, Nehemiah was in a dangerous, unique position serving the King of Nehemiah’s day, 446 BC, …Araxerxes.  Verse 11 clarifies that Nehemiah was the Cupbearer to the King.

Dangerous?  Well, the Cupbearer was the one who drank everything from the King’s cup first to be sure it wasn’t poisoned.  The Kings used captives and expendable people for this, …but also dependable people too because a relationship was built as this was done.  This person was not only the one who personally passed the drinks to those at the table, but because he was frequently in attendance at important meals and meetings, Nehemiah not only had the King’s ear as an advisor, but became a trusted confidant.  His integrity, administrative gifts, and wisdom paved the way for him to be used to meet the needs of the people back home in trouble.

Put yourself in one of their places and think about all the danger.

Out of the growing trust, just like us today, as we get to know people and obtain their trust, Nehemiah began to have valuable influence.

Let me ask you this:

Do you think God was in the middle of this?  Had He planned this for Nehemiah before he was even born?  Was Nehemiah the person God used to meet the needs of God’s people back home in great need?


Then, what about you and me today?

Do you think God had / and still has a plan to place you into a situation as His envoy to get something accomplished?

You can bet upon it!!!

Let’s see how Nehemiah handled this in his role and situation:

Nehemiah 2: 1- 8:        (The Gospel By Bob Version)

 1-2 It was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king. At the hour for serving wine I brought it in and gave it to the king. I had never been sad and downcast in his presence before, so he asked me, “Why the long face? You’re not sick are you? Or are you depressed?” I had never been sad in his presence before.

 2-3 That made me all the more afraid, but I managed to say: “Long live the king! And I cannot help but be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?”

 4-5 The king then asked me, “So what do you want?”

 Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven, I said, “If it please the king, and if the king thinks well of me, send me to Judah, to the city where my family is buried, so that I can rebuild it.”

 6 The King, with the Queen sitting alongside him, said, “How long will your work take and when would you expect to return?”

 I gave him a time, and the King gave his approval to send me.

 7-8 Then I said, “If it please the King, provide me with letters to the governors across the Euphrates that authorize my travel through to Judah; and also an order to Asaph, keeper of the King’s forest, to supply me with timber for the beams of The Temple fortress, the wall of the city, and the house where I’ll be living.”

 8-9 The generous hand of my God was with me in this and the King gave them to me. When I met the governors across The River (the Euphrates) I showed them the King’s letters. The King even sent along a cavalry escort.

I want to pause and make an important note here.

Did you notice that Nehemiah completely kept God in the loop through prayer?  He included God in every decision and put himself in the same category of need as his needy family that he was concerned about.

Do we attempt to use the same wise style, or are we brash and self reliant like the age we like in purposes?

Also, I want us to realize that Nehemiah took a huge chance here no matter how much of a confidant he was with the King.  Just showing sadness when serving could have got him killed, let alone asking such a petition!  Nehemiah set his life on the line in that day and time.  We have a much safer life today in comparison.

Each one of us has been given a unique sphere of influence and likely many of them, because He is not going to use you only once.

You can bet upon that too!!!

Raising children, church, community work, employment, military experience, government and politics, hobbies, sports and other interests all provide a platform where we can have a beneficial effect upon others.

Has the Lord placed someone in your life upon whom you can have an influence?

Even a very small example given to someone can be a big influence!

You never know what people see or hear that will change their lives.

Plus, quite often you will never know the effect you had until eternity when the crowns of life are passed out.

“When we live with integrity,

We please our God above

And influence our society

 With truthfulness and love.”  

– Sper