Summary: When we do things for God we will face opposition.
Three contractors were touring the White House on the same day.
One was from New York, another from Missouri, and the third from Florida. At the end of the tour, the guard asked them what they did for a living. When they each replied that they were contractors, the guard said, "Hey we need one of the rear fences redone. Why don't you guys take a look at it and give me your bids."
First the Florida contractor took out his tape measure and pencils, did some measuring and said, "I figure the job will run about $900 - $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me."
Next was the Missouri contractor. He also took out his tape measure and pencil, did some quick calculations and said, "Looks like I can do this job for $700 - $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me."
Finally, the guard asks the New York contractor for his bid. Without batting an eye, the contractor says, "$2700."
The guard, incredulous, looks at him and says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"
"Easy," says the contractor from New York, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Missouri."
We’ve been walking through the book of Nehemiah for the last few weeks. This is the story about how God gave His people a vision for a restored city and then used them to make it happen. In order to achieve big things for God it is not enough simply to get a vision of what He wants, we have to keep that vision before us. Nehemiah wasn’t the first person with the vision of a rebuilt Jerusalem, but he was the first who kept that vision in front of him until it was complete. We said last week that keeping the vision in front of you is one of the steps to fulfilling a God sized vision, along with tools like waiting for God’s timing, prayer and a knowledge of His word.
At this point in the story, Nehemiah who was the cupbearer for the king of Persia, which at the time was the most powerful empire on earth, basically left his position as basically the kings prime minister to travel across the desert and rebuild the broken city of Jerusalem. When he arrived, he rested, then he assessed the damage and finally he recruited teammates to rebuild the city.
It sounds like a great beginning, and it was, but this story can’t end at this point with a happily ever after. Because part of the assessment of the task at hand was that it would be dangerous. There was a reason the two groups that came before weren’t able to complete the rebuilding of the city, they had enemies. This concept applies to us. If we are going to attempt to be the people that God has called us to be both as individuals and as a church, as the body of Christ, then we can expect opposition. Whenever revival comes to the body opposition will come as well. We should expect it? If we believe that we have a supernatural enemy, then we must expect supernatural opposition when we attempt supernatural things.
It doesn’t matter if you try to do something grand or something big, if you’re doing it for God, our enemy will not be happy. By the way there is a reason I said something grand or something big, nothing you do for God is small. The impact that you can have on the life of a person by helping with kids club or just being a greeter every Sunday Morning can echo through eternity, because you are helping to implant the love of Christ into people. Whenever God is involved, trust me what you do is big, whether you think it is or not. Big things happen in our lives where we are, grand things take a little more effort, and a little more faith, but we should live our lives with a vision to be involved in both. But when we take those steps out we should just expect opposition. It happened to Nehemiah, it will happen to us.
So let’s pick up the story where we left off. Nehemiah, has gotten the kings authority, he has completed the journey form Persia to Jerusalem, he has recruited the people to be teammates in the rebuilding with him and now it is time to begin laying bricks. So where do you begin? They have an entire city to rebuild. Where do you begin when you feel like your life is in shambles, how do you put the whole thing back together again? Well you start by having your priorities in order. You can’t do everything at once, so don’t try, you’ll just frustrate yourself and everyone around you, you start with just one piece and pick the rest up as you go along. That’s what Nehemiah did, look at chapter 3 verse 1, “Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate.” He started with one building block, he had the priest rebuild a gate that was close to the temple, a gate that got some use. Understand it was a symbol, it was meant to inspire everyone else to start working. See it’s one thing to say, “I rebuilt a section of the wall today and tomorrow, I’ll probably rebuild another section of the wall.” But they rebuilt a gate, it had a name, people could relate to what they did.