Focal Passages: Ezra 7:1a, 6-10, 25-28; 9:4-6; 10:10-12
In Ezra 7-10 we read about Ezra the scribe, a man who lived
in a culture every bit as “pagan” as our own.
Like us, Ezra was in the minority of his society; it did not
acknowledge the God of Israel nor did it follow any of His commands. Ezra’s
culture followed the Golden Rule in its conduct: whoever has the gold makes the
rules. If you think about it, our culture is the same way.
Being a Jew where he was literally a “stranger in a strange
land,” Ezra did not have the means to influence society, such as wealth and
power. In Ezra 7:6, the reason the king gave Ezra everything for which he asked
was “because the hand of the LORD his God was on him.” What made Ezra special
or different or unique wasn’t what he had or even what things he did; it was
the fact that God was blessing Ezra for who Ezra was. Ezra was “being” obedient
and diligent in his service to his Lord, and this defined him.
My passion is to communicate with people. Specifically, I
desire to communicate God’s Word as clearly as I possibly can. Every opportunity
I have to teach, preach or even speak I try to “leave it all on the field” each
time. I can look back over the course of my life and remember all types of
events I would just as soon forget (of course, as I get older, I am finding
this is becoming easier).
Most of the mistakes and “indiscretions” I made while
younger — either while in the ministry or before in the business world — my
motive was the same; a strong passion to communicate to the best of my ability.
Yet here is the conclusion to which I have come after
“tasting my toes” oh so many times: it isn’t what I say or where I say it, and
it isn’t how I say it. What matters more than anything is who I am.
If we think of the people we trust the most in our lives —
our mechanics, doctors, pastors, counselors, teachers, and the like — we trust
them not because of their wit, or the way they present themselves, but we trust
them because of who they are.
Trust cannot be erected on a single post. Trust must be
constructed on a foundation that incorporates knowledge, character, integrity
(the thing on which character is built) and relationship. Because of Ezra’s
relationship with his Lord, his king recognized him as being trustworthy.
We leave the clearest footprints when we walk with God.
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