“Heavenly Father, You are Glorious! I praise You today for you engagement in my life. You are with me every step of the way, and You have surrounded me with brothers and sisters in Christ that share their Spiritual gifts to encourage me on my journey home. I thank You for Your faithful ministry in my life through the closeness and connection of the community of believers. ”
Key Verses: Nehemiah 2:17-18; 4:10-12,17-18 NIV
Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.
Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."
Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
Before getting into the key verses that spoke to me above, I wanted to share a little exercise I did while reading these chapters in Nehemiah (which is one of my favorite Old Testament books). When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to coordinate the rebuilding of the walls and gates of the city, he did not bring with him an army of engineers and skilled laborers for the task. Instead, he surveyed what needed to be done, and asked for volunteers to take ownership for rebuilding a portion of the walls. I spent some time highlighting the vocation of the diverse group of workers, that came together to fulfill God’s plan for the walls of Jerusalem.
There was the famous cupbearer to the King, Nehemiah. There were goldsmiths and perfume makers. There were rulers of districts and rulers of half districts from all the areas surrounding Jerusalem. There was Hallosheh and his daughters. There were priests and temple servants. There were city guards and merchants. There were citizens of Mizpah and Tekoa.
In fact, the one group that seems missing from the list appears to be masons and carpenters, but in God’s awesome economy, everyone became a wall builder. And God was glorified for it because, as is His way so often, He did not gather the qualified to participate in His Plan, He qualified those that had gathered in His Name to accomplish His Will. I believe that is a critical lesson that we as the Body of Christ need to keep near to our hearts as it should be an encouragement to service for His Glory.
I believe that the verses above really encapsulate my own problems in overcoming adversity to my efforts to cooperate with God’s purposes for me in the areas of service. Even when I feel that I am being called to some action on behalf of the Kingdom, I succumb too easily to discouragement. As in Nehemiah, the faithful are telling me that the load will become to great and I will exhaust myself and burn out, those that are opposed to God,or His Plan, are threatening me if I advance the Kingdom, and those from every other corner I am receiving rumors of the trials and tests that I will face as I advance.
All in all, a pretty bleak prognosis for success if I ascribe any authority in my life to the discouragement I experience. In those times, the encouragement that I must embrace is that the hand of God is guiding my effort, and no obstacle can stand against that kind of power.
I have often heard, and the scriptures refer to the fact, that we are simply travelers in this world as we look forward to an eternity in the presence of God. Since that is the case, I need to also recognize that this is a business trip for me.
We are all here to do God’s business as we have the opportunity and His Spirit to guide us. This was never meant to be a pleasure cruise…fortunately, since we serve such an awesome God, it is impossible not to experience great joy in His plan, especially when we sense His hand upon our efforts.