Summary: You were formed and fashioned for service.
For years the book of Nehemiah has provided a wealth of biblical insights for many occasions in my life. This ancient autobiography provides a blueprint for a study on leadership. Few sections in my library are as extensive as this one.
I love Nehemiah’s work because he gives us a candid introduction to the trials and challenges that came knocking at his door - his and ours. But one thing has always disturbed me. While studying several years ago, I came across the comment, “If you have limited time in your study of Nehemiah, this [chapter 3] would be a good chapter to slip past.” I have never forgotten those words because I feel compelled to honor, not neglect, the memory and efforts of the choice servants found in this chapter. How will I do that? By introducing you to several biblical insights tucked into this chapter that are begging to be noticed.
Leaders always lead
1Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel.
Lack of commitment by some never invalidates the worth of a God given project
5The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.
Everyone’s gift is needed
8Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.
Equal in value, different in function
12Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters.
Some God-given assignments are not very glamorous
14The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place.
Nothing motivates more than all-out effort
20Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest.
As we wade into the waters of Nehemiah we immediately see God’s plan for rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. A Jew never forgets Jerusalem. As you thumb through the opening chapters of this incredible book, you notice that Nehemiah is a man of deep conviction. Dictionaries define conviction as “a fixed or strong belief.” This definition is too narrow for this author; let’s add some elasticity to it by including values, commitments, and motivations. A belief is something you argue about, but a conviction is something you are willing to die for. Rick Warren reminds us, “Knowing what to do (knowledge), why to do it (perspective), and how to do it (skill) is all worthless if you don’t have the conviction to motivate you to do it.” (1)
Long ago in eternity, before the creation of the world, God purposed the perfect plan for using your giftings. Unbelievable. Wow! For millions of years God has been looking forward to my arrival on the scene and the valuable contribution that I would make. Okay, I feel better about myself already. And to think that I give up on myself long before God does. God’s plans are stored up in your life. Release them, friend. You were created for service.
Created for Service
1. God wants a commitment from you to His ministry plans.
Oh, this is going to be painful. You’re going to have to give me a little grace. I’m still a work in progress in this area. Our family is building a house. If I weren’t involved in it I think I might be a little smug. Instead, I stand here guilty. The house consumes every spare moment. I never realized how much time goes into construction. My wife is right, there are two things we are never going to do again: build a house and have four kids.
Construction can become intoxicating. I am caught up in a vicious cycle that I can’t get out of. There is something more you could be doing - a trip Home Depot, move a few yards of dirt, clean the job site, get lunch for the workers, make sure the job site is closed properly.
Then there are the visitors and their questions: Is that deck made of Trex? How do you like that composition roof? Hey, I’m doing some planting, do you mind if I have a bucket of your dirt? And the clincher, when are you going to be in? I am so tired of that question! I finally landed on the right answer (since we should have been in 5 months ago); …No man knows the day or hour, except the father in heaven.