One thing my dad did not allow in our home was laziness. My seven siblings and I probably have every verse in Proverbs about a sluggard turning on his bed, an excuse about a lion in the street, talking too much leading to penury, and others, memorized. The reason my father could expect diligence from us was because he led by example. He had a mind to work, and because he set his mind to a great work, he did great things for the Lord.
Here in Nehemiah, we see a miracle taking place. Nehemiah and his motley crew built a fortified wall around an entire city in just fifty-two days. This was done for the good of the people, the glory of God, and as a blow to the enemy who opposed them.
I’m reminded again that the Lord has a great work for each of us to do as well. It may be a ministry endeavor. It may be a life purpose. It may be a 59-day project. It may be training the next generation. Someway, somehow, though, your great work for the Lord will have to do with helping others, and for the glory of God. What work has God given you do to? Do you want to see the Lord use you to finish it? Nehemiah and his group give us great pointers as we seek to do a great work for the Lord.
Seeing a great work: The foundation to doing a great work for the Lord, is getting a vision of what the Lord can use you do to. Here Nehemiah had heard about the work but wanted to visualize it himself. Without anyone knowing, he got alone, saw the need, and caught a vision for the work. My dad so often asked, “what’s the vision!?” What is it for you? Get a glimpse, or ask the Lord to give you a glimpse, of what He can use you to do.
Nehemiah 2:15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
Strength for a great work: If we’re going to do a great work, we must strengthen hands to be able to do it. How are we strengthening our hands to do a work for the Lord? How’s our walk with God? What tools and strengths are we adding to the arsenal? How are we strengthening our resolve to build for God?
Nehemiah 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me… So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
Striving together for a great work: Unity is crucial if we’re going to see a great work done! Here, over twenty verses tell us that one man worked next to another, and so on. Who are we working with? We’d do well to come along side, or ask others to join by our side, as we work. Every church needs unity in the work. We need a teacher working next to a nursery worker. We need shepherds to help the pastor shepherd. We need bus drivers working by the bus captain. I need my wife next to me as I rear my children. We need the church, school, pastor, and parents working next to each other. We need co-laborers. We need to work together if we’re to build! No man is an island.
Nehemiah 3:2 And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
Steadfastness in a great work: Of course, opposition came—fierce opposition. So they came up with a plan. Let’s have our Makita Drill set in one hand, and our sword in the next. The other guys had a rifle in one hand and a trowel in the next. They prepared for opposition, stood up to it, and continued to be steadfast in the face of it. If we’re going to do a great work, we must continue, steadfast, in opposition. It will come to our church. It will come to our homes. It will come in our ministry. It will come as we build. Stay steadfast!
Nehemiah 4:17-18 They which builded on the wall… every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.
Success in the work: If we catch a vision, prepare, and strengthen our hands and hearts, work together, and stay steadfast, the Lord can and will use us to do something great for Him. But all of these things require a mind to work. Do you have a mind to work today? If not, by God’s grace let’s have one to see Him do great things through our lives.
Nehemiah 6:15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
Do we have an emotional relationship and yet move on quickly, or are we concentrated and stick it out through good times and bad?
Often it seems our circumstances pause the dream. and as dreamers we get discouraged.