PASSING THE BATON

Nehemiah 7:1-2
Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.
Passing the baton is almost never easy. Many Olympic sprinters wish they could have a ‘do-over’ because what seemed like destiny ended in tragedy because the only reason they lost the race was due to a baton blunder. This struggle is not isolated to the Olympic Games, though. In fact, it is far more common in the grandstands than on the grand stage. Normal, average people struggle with passing the baton everyday. It happens when we teach our children new responsibilities that they will be taking over from us. It happens at work when it’s time for a boss to retire. It happens in ministry when someone, who has been trained and raised up, is raring and ready to take the reins.

The two most common struggles with this transition are: letting go too early and not letting go at all. To the first point, sometimes we are done and want to move on from something we have lost vision for, so we let go too early by giving control over to someone who simply isn’t ready. Another way this happens is by not casting vision for the next person in charge. Notice that Nehemiah didn’t do this. He passed the baton to two men who had shown initiative (Nehemiah 1:2) and were faithful and fearful (reverent) in their walks with God. Nehemiah knew that failure would be inevitable if he didn’t appoint properly.

 The second struggle is not letting go at all. Whether it is a pastor who is no longer fit for the position he has within the church or a parent who refuses to give their child any responsibility because they know they can do a better job of it, a refusal to let go will cripple those who take over after you. Nehemiah finished his work and moved on to the next thing God had in store for him. Rather than making his seasonal calling of rebuilding the wall a god for him to worship, he gladly gave it to someone else so he could walk in his calling. Take a note from Nehemiah. When the time comes, be willing to release but also be responsible with who you are releasing to.
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