I read through this chapter with tremendous conviction. Even with the worst recession our country has seen in decades, we are still an incredibly rich country. I have been seeing reports on the news how some credit card companies are raising their interest rates to 30% across the board, even for customers that have been faithful in their payment plan. Now those people will be struggling even more to make ends meet. That is wrong. This morning I heard a report that estimates one in four children in America will not be receiving enough food this year. That is a staggering statistic. It is also wrong. There are people starving worldwide due to corrupt government, war, or famine; yet there is enough food to feed every person in the world. That is wrong.
Nehemiah saw a problem in Jerusalem; those with wealth took advantage of those who were poor. They provided them grain to survive, but charged heavy interest and made them sell their daughters into slavery and mortgage their fields. Nehemiah couldn’t understand how fellow countrymen could take advantage of those who were less fortunate. Nehemiah lent out grain, but didn’t charge for it. Nehemiah did not use his privilege to eat better than those around him, but invited fellow Jews to eat at his table. He worked on the wall without gaining anything.
There are a lot of people in need. I am convicted even as I ask the question: what am I doing to help those around me? What do I refuse to acknowledge that needs to have someone take action? I am one person, but what if I donated food to a food bank along with thousands of other persons? Have I been vocal about injustices around me? Will I allow God to open my eyes to the people around me?