Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter. Ezra 5:17 (MSG)
When I was a young man, I pastored a church that had some old ratty and torn pew Bibles that were in the old King James Version. The decision to use some available resources to purchase new pew Bibles in a more accessible translation seemed a no brainer. So, I authorized the purchase and replaced the tattered and torn pew Bibles when the new ones arrived.
I was unprepared for the strong an deeply emotional protest that followed the discovery of the new replacements. A meeting was held and I was informed of the history of the old pew Bibles which had been given in honor of a dear old saint of the church, and of the attachment some members felt to the old Bibles which they had used on Sundays for countless years.
Along the journey, I’ve often been guilty of making decisions and changes without consideration to those I’m leading. I made an executive decision about the pew Bibles without any consideration to how they got there or what they meant to the people in the pews. As a leader, I am often unaware of decisions, conversations, and the situations which led to the circumstances I inherited in leadership. While I believe that some sacred cows need to be quickly slaughtered, more often than not I’ve found a need to be more sensitive to those I’m leading. I need conversation and understanding regarding how we got to the present circumstances and honor those who were part of the process and history which got us here.
Ezra and the crew in today’s chapter were victims of a change in leadership. The new royal administration was not aware of their work to rebuild the temple nor of the royal decree that put them there. The question is, will the new King be like I have too often demonstrated and make a rash decision to stop the reconstruction? Or, will he consider their appeal to search the archives and understand why they are there?
I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. (How’s that for a teaser?)