This week we continue our purpose profiles as we look at the life of Nehemiah. There are some exciting and helpful purpose lessons ahead in the next few weeks as we study this man’s life. (You may wish to read the book of Nehemiah before you read this Memo.) In short, Nehemiah served the Persian king Artaxerxes, who ruled from 464-424 BC. In about 445 BC, Artaxerxes commissioned his servant Nehemiah to return and rebuild Jerusalem, the city of his fathers. This profile will study how Nehemiah got assigned to duty in Jerusalem and what he did once he was there. Of course, we will see that Nehemiah was a man of purpose or he could not have done the great work that he did.
The book of Nehemiah begins with Nehemiah asking some men who had just come from Jerusalem some questions: “In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:1-2).
The point I want to make this week is that you don’t know their purpose because you don’t ask enough questions. I heard a motivational speaker say one time that quality questions lead to a quality life. What he meant was that you must seek the truth concerning who you are, and part of that seeking is asking the right questions.
Nehemiah was interested in Jerusalem and its residents, even though he had never been there. One day a group of travelers piqued his interest and he asked a lot of questions. Their answers provoked him to prayer, thought and action. The rest is history.
When I first found my purpose, it was because I asked God, “If you didn’t create me to start this business that failed, what did You create me to do?” That was a quality question. The Lord responded, “I made you to create order out of chaos!” That was a quality answer, the pursuit of which has led me to a quality life, one that enables me to do what I love all over the world. What questions are you currently asking? If quality questions lead to a quality life, do no questions lead to a nothing life? Do you continue to ask until you get an answer or some clarity on the matter?
Here are three good questions to ask this week as you seek your purpose. Work on these this week and there will be more in the weeks to come.
- What would you do with your life if you had all the money you needed to live on?
- What compliments have you regularly heard that may hold clues to your purpose?
- What gives you the greatest joy?
If you would care to help others when you ask and seek, you can post your answers on the site where this entry is posted. Your comments will go a long way toward helping others. Thanks, and have a blessed week.
John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.
Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.
John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.