"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Rebuilding Walls…..

On a recent drive back from meetings in Atlanta, I was listening to a radio program about the vision and leadership of Nehemiah as he rebuilt the walls in Israel. I realized that almost 3 years ago to the day, I wrote a M5T about rebuilding walls. When I got home, I appreciated how timely and appropriate both the message, and the M5T was. So much so, I wanted to share this again, as it’s time to rebuild. And before anyone thinks M5T has suddenly become political, for the record, I am not referring to certain border walls!

The image of walls around someone is usually taken as a negative. Sometimes though, walls are necessary for our security and strength. Driving to dinner one night in the old town of Skopje, Macedonia I got to see the walls that protected the city during the Ottoman rule in the 12th century. As the car bounced and jostled along the cobble-stone streets, I started to think about another wall. Around 445 BC or so, Israel’s walls were literally falling down, leaving the city exposed, vulnerable, and prone to attack from its enemies. Along came Nehemiah, a Jewish man, who happened to be the right-hand man – and one of the most trusted men – of the King of Persia. Nehemiah was also the cup bearer to the king – sipping the wine first to make sure no one was trying to poison his liege. Not an easy job, and one that the king didn’t hand out lightly. Despite having such an important role – which came with distinction, honor, and all sorts of kingly perks – when Nehemiah heard that his city walls were falling apart, he boldly asked the king for permission to take a leave of absence to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. Today’s M5T takes a look at rebuilding walls in our lives, with Nehemiah as the context.

1. Rebuilding walls is about solving problems

Despite living away from Jerusalem, Nehemiah heard about the problem and realized that no one had come up with a solution nor had the desire to solve the issue. Nehemiah wept, thinking about the state of the wall, the city and its people. He realized he would have to be the one person that would step up and rebuild the wall.

2. Rebuilding walls is about courage and focus

Nehemiah had the full support and backing of the king, yet there were those around him that tried to side-track him from completing the walls. False accusations were made against him, but Nehemiah was steadfast in his mission to rebuild the wall. He exposed the lies, confronted his detractors, and never lost his vision or momentum to make things right.

3. Rebuilding walls is hard

Often broken things get ignored because of the effort required to fix them. Those in Judah were down-trodden, poor in spirit and life, and simply had lost sight of their heritage. Nehemiah saw the need and took action. He didn’t hesitate to simply start, by making changes without excuses. He completed the wall in 52 days.

4. Rebuilding walls is about a higher purpose

To give Nehemiah authority and freedom to do as he saw fit to begin rebuilding the wall, the king made Nehemiah the governor of the region. Along with the title came the right to collect food, livestock, and land from the locals. All of which Nehemiah refused to do, and in fact made tax collectors return land to those that had to give up their land to pay outstanding debts and taxes. Not only was the wall rebuilt, Nehemiah’s people, family and friends, were also rebuilt with a renewed spirit.

5. Rebuilding walls is about cleansing

Human nature was the same then as it is now. We have a way of letting habits develop out of laziness, tiredness, or from simply not caring. The intensity and speed at which Nehemiah built the wall had to have been something to behold. One can just imagine the smell of the fresh timber provided by the king, and the sound of the rocks being broken, shaped, and mortared into place. Imagine a regal Jewish man walking around the walls day after day, robes flowing in the wind, arms waving as he gave directions, encouraging the workers, praying for them, and genuinely wanting their lives to be better. Nehemiah and the rebuilt walls were the catalyst to purging negative mindsets that were replaced by a vigor and excitement for a renewed way of life.

Here’s to rebuilding the broken walls that we all have in our lives.

© 2019 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com