Summary: This message is about Baruch, son of Zabbai, one of Nehemiah’s builders. We don’t have to be a "Billy Graham" in order to do great things in God’s Kingdom.
After him Baruch the son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the Angle to the doorway of the house of Eliashib the high priest.--Nehemiah 3:20(NASB)
Most of the time when someone is asked who their hero is they mention a great athlete or someone who has done something extraordinary. What the aftermath of the tragedy of 911 taught us, however, is that heroes can be ordinary people that do menial work in an extraordinary way. Consider, for example, all of those who have worked fervently to clear away the rubble of the World Trade Center or rebuild the Pentagon. They are certainly heroes.
In the time of Nehemiah there were others that were similar heroes. The walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed because of a Babylonian invasion seventy years before. Now God was calling on His people to rebuild His holy city. Though Nehemiah had the vision, ordinary people were needed to carry out this task! If you look at Nehemiah 3, you will see a long listing of names of those who worked on the wall and what they did. This might seem to some a boring chapter and one might ask: Why include all of these names? The reason is simple: Whenever we do something for God we are always written in His Book.
If you study Nehemiah 3, one name stands out: Baruch son of Zabbai. It is only about him where it is said he zealously repaired his section. While this does not appear in all translations, it certainly appears in the New American Standard considered the most accurate of translations. I want to do a lesson about Baruch because he is obscure and “ordinary”—the kind of person most of us can relate to. I want to also add, however, that even though he was “ordinary” in his position and abilities, he was extraordinary in the way he shared his gifts! Let us look now at what we can learn from Baruch, son of Zabbai.
I. He was available to meet a need.
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.--Nehemiah 2:17-18(NIV)
We can also learn from the example of Isaiah:
Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?"
And I said, "Lord, I’ll go! Send me."--Isaiah 6:8(NIV)
When 911 struck, many Americans rallied to lend a helping hand. We as Christians also need to be willing to meet a need when one is presented to us. Baruch, son of Zabbai, was such a man.
II. He was willing to give of himself.
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.--2 Corinthians 8:12(NIV)
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."--Mark 9:35(NIV)
"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.--1 Chronicles 28:9(NIV)
Many times what keeps Christians from offering themselves to service is the false belief they have nothing to offer. They think that because they are not gifted at speaking in front of people or singing that they have nothing to offer. Nothing is farther from the truth! Baruch was a mason and bricklayer and he was very valuable in doing God’s work. Whatever talent you have is valuable when you are willing to give of yourself to do God’s work! Remember that it isn’t just enough to be available, we should also be willing to give of ourselves!
III. He served with the gifts he had.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.--1 Peter 4:10(NIV)
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.--Romans 12:6-8(NIV)
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.--1 Timothy 4:12(NIV)