Big Visions Require Big Dollars: Principles from Nehemiah

By on December 1, 2007   /   Leave a comment

Years ago, a friend of mine was working for a prominent businessman who invited my friend to join him in an appointment with Dr. Bill Bright, President of Campus Crusade. In that meeting, Dr. Bright asked this businessman for one million dollars to help fund worldwide evangelism projects. Even though my friend knew this businessman did not currently have the funds, he committed to Dr. Bright to give the requested amount. Later I learned there were almost 250 other individuals who had also committed at least one million, and Crusade dubbed this group of sacrificial investors: “History’s Handful.”
How do you explain the hundreds of people around the world who committed huge amounts of money to Dr. Bright and the Great Commission plans he presented to them? All I can think of is: Big Visions Require Big Dollars. Dr. Bright’s vision was so big, so compelling, so “God-sized” that myriads of givers wanted to join him and get a “fraction of the action!”
Nehemiah, who lived almost 2500 years ago, was another man who dared to dream big dreams and even risk his life to ask wealthy, powerful people to put up the venture capital to make those dreams a reality. Here are a few simple principles He lived by:

1. Nehemiah prayed big
Most of Nehemiah chapter one tells of his response to the news that his beloved Jerusalem had fallen into physical and spiritual ruin. He was so burdened that all he could do was mourn and weep—and pray. After confessing sins on behalf of all the Jews, he claimed the promise the Lord made to Moses to re-gather His people to Israel (1:8,9). Against all odds, this lowly cupbearer exiled in a far away land believed God for the impossible.

2. Nehemiah planned big
He prayed in faith but did not stop there. He got up off his knees and started to strategize. He knew this was a God-sized project which required God-sized resources. So, after specifically asking the Lord for an open door with King Artaxerxes (1:11), Nehemiah mapped out his plans and presentation, so as not to give any nebulous answers during his support appointment with the King. I don’t know whether or not he majored in engineering in college, but he sure did an excellent job putting all the details together of what kind of time, materials, and manpower it would take to finish the job!

3. Nehemiah asked big
When Artaxerxes quizzed him about what he wanted, Nehemiah did not stutter, but passionately asked, “Send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it” (2:5). After painting the big picture for the King, he followed up with more detailed requests for letters of introduction and building materials. He knew what the King was capable of, and he wanted to make sure his ask was commensurate with the giver’s ability. (i.e. You don’t ask someone who can fund your whole project just for $100 a month!) The King listened to the huge vision brewing within Nehemiah’s heart, and this humble, but courageous, servant did not back down, but proceeded to ask for a God-sized gift. Why? He knew that only big visions draw big dollars.


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