Some people identify public speaking as one of their greatest fears. Giving a thank-you speech, father of the bride speech, work-based presentation or church teaching slot holds terror for many.
Occasionally individuals find themselves at a moment which demands that they deliver. An opportunity finally arises of such importance that, when taken well, changes the whole course of countless lives. Phrases such as the – The speech of his life – or The race of her life – become attached to these moments. The night before them rarely yields much sleep.
You will know your own fears, your own big moments and your own sleepless nights.
For a young man, whose main job experience was as a cupbearer, his moment has arrived. Through spiritual, professional and personal discipline he has figured out that a massive job needs doing. He has a sense of calling and destiny that his part on the world stage means rebuilding the city of his fathers, which lies in ruins. What he needs to do now is to deliver the speech of his life to inspire others to join him.
In his own journal he gives us 36 words of quotation and 21 words of commentary on what he said.
There are many things I know nothing about and some things I fear, but public speaking is not one of them. I’ve been doing it since I was eight years old as a musician or speaker. Although I never knowingly stand up without allowing myself creative tension, I really don’t feel fear.
I can assure you, if you need it, that 36 words with 21 of commentary would not be enough to inspire over 50,000 people to rebuild the city. What you see is bound to be a reflection of the concentrated thinking of a humble mind. Nehemiah gives you the headlines of his speech – he does not want to hold the glory but he gives you enough to know exactly how he handled the speech of his life.
Before we handle it perhaps we should put it into context. It is four months since he heard from his brother. It is his whole lifetime that he has been hurting about his homeland. He knows that there have been several failed attempts to rebuild. He is about to mobilize 50,000, or more, people to work on a 52 day dangerous project. He will be governor in Jerusalem for twelve years before he returns to his king in Susa.
What would you put in the speech? How would you decide what to say and what to leave out? Have a look at his 36 words and 21 of commentary (Nehemiah 2:17-18) and see what you think of his choices.
Next week we will see why he said what he said. In the meantime perhaps you can compare your mind to Nehemiah’s and, of course,… Work well.
Nehemiaih Chapter 2:17-18
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. ” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
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