Life feels like constant maintenance to me. My house requires attention, all of the time. Some is routine like keeping the water softener charged and the lawns mowed. There are things that have to be monitored and those that must be repaired. I really like a clean house and enjoy the shine when it is done. But, within a few days it is in need of more attention, right? We are always pushing back chaos, restoring, rebuilding.
After Judah was destroyed by Assyria, Jerusalem burnt, the Temple sacked – people concluded that the history of the Jewish people had concluded: except for those who recognized God’s promises. They hoped for a day when the mess would be cleaned up, the nation restored, the worship of the Lord renewed. And, miraculously it was! But, it did not happen without people who were willing to dream, sweat, and work. God spoke to a Jewish man who was ‘cupbearer’ to the king in Babylon. “They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:3-4, NIV)
Nehemiah felt the call to do something about his ruined homeland and took God’s invitation. When he finally made the trip to a city he had never seen, he found piles of rubble.
After a survey of the work, he gathered those who shared his vision. “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) It was no walk in the park, but he got the job done. What an inspiration!
So what is in need of attention around you?
What has God called you to restore?
Who needs you to be their ‘Nehemiah?’
If you want to lead your family to wholeness, be part of a church that is making a Kingdom difference, or even just live your own life in a way that honors the Lord, there are some pointers from the rebuilder of Jerusalem.
First– Gain God’s Vision!
He has a plan for your life. You are not a random blob of living organic matter existing for a few years in this universe. You have a purpose.
Second- Assess the Challenges!
I am acquainted with a man who is busy all of the time, but his place is in disarray. Why? He does not understand the work that needs to be done so that he can prioritize and order his efforts. You can work hard and accomplish next to nothing if you do not take time to understand the bigger picture.
Third- Gather resources!
Life is not a solo act, despite what you might have been told. The most lasting changes in us and in our world are done by teams of people whose combined efforts, empowered by God’s Spirit, are amazing. The right people, in the right place, equipped with the right tools, can move mountains. Who’s on your team of life? What has God provided for you to do His will? Ask for faith that will let you see beyond the obvious.
Fourth- Get going!
The pithy wisdom of Proverbs includes this bit – “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” (Proverbs 6:10-11, NLT) Today’s opportunities will not return tomorrow. Are you doing something, making the effort, moving forward in spite of obstacles?
A life well-ordered and Christ-honoring does not just happen while we wait. Bodies, homes, organizations, systems, churches, buildings – they all demand our best efforts to build and maintain them. After all the effort, Nehemiah remember this important choice, too. “At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.” (Nehemiah 12:27, NIV)
Remember to Celebrate and Give Thanks.
Are you a restorer, a builder, creating a life of beauty for the glory of God?
The word from the Word is a favorite of mine. Take the promise and go change your world. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)