by Rick Warren — December 1, 2022
From Building a Better Future
“Happy is the person who honors the Lord . . . He gives generously to the needy, and his kindness never fails; he will be . . . respected.”
Psalm 112:1, 9 (GNT)
The Bible says, “Happy is the person who honors the Lord . . . He gives generously to the needy, and his kindness never fails; he will be . . . respected” (Psalm 112:1, 9 GNT).
Nehemiah lived a life of generosity and humility—and he was respected because of it.
Nehemiah 5 records Nehemiah’s personal testimony of humility: “During all the twelve years that I was governor of the land of Judah . . . neither my relatives nor I ate the food I was entitled to have as governor. Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God” (Nehemiah 5:14-15 GNT).
Notice that Nehemiah rejected a sense of entitlement as governor. Though he was entitled to certain privileges, he chose not to demand them. He refused all the perks of his office that the previous governors had expected. Nehemiah acted humbly and put the needs of the people ahead of his own.
Nehemiah 5 also offers Nehemiah’s personal testimony of generosity: “I put all my energy into rebuilding the wall and did not acquire any property . . . I regularly fed at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jewish people and their leaders, besides all the people who came to me from the surrounding nations . . . I knew what heavy burdens the people had to bear, and so I did not claim the allowance that the governor is entitled to” (Nehemiah 5:16-18 GNT).
Nehemiah wasn’t just humble; he was hospitable and had a generous spirit. He personally paid for the many costs of his leadership position. He even fed his whole team regularly, paying for it all himself.
Of course, being generous doesn’t necessarily mean you have to regularly feed 150 people. But Nehemiah did what he could with what God had given him to relieve the burdens of others.
If you want to be respected, start with humility and generosity. Refuse to have a sense of entitlement and don’t be demanding. In Christ, you can choose to give up your own rights so that you can serve him while defending the rights of others.