Nehemiah was the cupbearer to a Persian king named Artaxerxes, about 445 BC. Nehemiah held a crucial administrative post in the government.
As his story develops, Nehemiah is made aware of a catastrophe in his hometown of Jerusalem. The walls surrounding the city were broken down, and consequently, the people’s morale was in shambles. With permission from the king, Nehemiah leaves his position to attend to the devastating circumstances in Jerusalem.
Nehemiah first became a general contractor and, along the way, organized, managed, supervised, and encouraged the people to take on and complete the momentous task of rebuilding the wall. The undertaking was not without opposition which was at times intense.
Nehemiah grew into an inspirational leader. Other outgrowths of Nehemiah’s leadership included the development of strong families, the resurgence of the temple becoming the center of community life, and a movement for people to agree to live according to the principles of God’s covenant, thereby becoming a righteous and just community. Dr. Tony Evans says, “The book of Nehemiah [in the Bible] is about making wrong things right.
Why did you name your Art Studio & Gallery after Nehemiah?
The name Nehemiah means “God is compassionate.” A child’s version of the Bible translated “Nehemiah” as “God wipes our tears. Nehemiah cared deeply for the physical and spiritual well-being of the people under his care.
The story of Nehemiah struck a chord with me. Life can be challenging, yet “God wipes our tears.” Compassion is one of the best things we can give to other people, and compassion can be offered in whatever context we find ourselves. For me, that is in my life as an artist. When I teach art, I have a tremendous opportunity to provide artistic guidance in a kind and encouraging way. We all need compassion.
I was also impacted by Nehemiah’s life as a leader. He grew into the role. He cared for the people and took on responsibility for their welfare. Nehemiah’s role in the community expanded as he used his gifts and talents for the greater good.