Have you ever wondered if you’re making a difference? Have you thought about the purpose of your life? At times I’ve felt like all I do is spread peanut butter & jelly and clean up toys. Is this really what God had in mind when He created me?
And just in case you think what’s coming next is an Ecclesiastes feel-bad “meaningless” sermon, relax! I’m reading Nehemiah right now. 🙂
Yesterday I read the first few chapters where Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem after the exiles returned from captivity. In the second chapter, I noticed the phrase “because the gracious hand of God was on me” (Nehemiah 2:8). So, I knew it was important to pay attention to what I was reading – this was a ‘sign’ to me.
As I was reading about the repairs in chapters 3-4, I kept reading name after name of people who were repairing sections of the wall near where they lived. And, I’ll be honest in saying that nothing bores me more than reading lists of names. Why does this even matter? “The Fish Gate was built by the sons of Hassenah…Mermoth son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz repaired the next section of the wall. Beside him were Meshullam son of Berekiah and grandson of Meshezabel, and then Zadok son of Baana. Next were the people from Tekoa, though their leaders refused to help. The Old City Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah…Next to them were Melatiah from Gibeon, Jadon from Meronoth, and people from Gibeon and Mizpah…Next was Uzziel son of Harhaiah…” (Nehemiah 3:3-8) and on and on and on. Name after name continued (I added a link above to chapters 3-4 so you can read them for yourself!).
Then it struck me. What I wrote in the margins of my Bible is that we each need to do our part. The wall around Jerusalem signified safety and if any one person would have refused to do the work, holes would have existed. The entire project would have been compromised.
The fourth chapter talked about the danger that these workers were in. As Nehemiah looked over the situation, he called together the leaders and the people and said “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14). Verse 16 says that from then on, only half the men worked while the other half stood guard with spears and bows; verse 17 continues that the common laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. “During this time, none of us – not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me – ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water” (Nehemiah 4:23).
These people were in real, serious danger. They kept guard, always being dressed, always having a hand on their weapon. They knew that the wall they were rebuilding was important and each one did his part. Each person took a section to rebuild and was listed for his work.
And here is the point I took from this: God has placed you in your location so that you can do your part! YOU are here for such a time as this. If you weren’t in your spot, there would be a significant hole. Who are the people you directly affect – the kids you’re raising, the church where you’re serving, the neighbors who you live near, the co-workers you help, the organization where you volunteer? How would their lives be different without you involved? You do have purpose, meaning and significance!
Don’t let the mundane busyness of everyday life take your eyes off the work to be done in your wall. Don’t be like the leaders from Tekoa who refused to help. For whom should you be praying? Where do you need to serve? Who can you encourage? Who must you protect? Where can you stand in the gap?
You serve an important role right where you are. Pray about your location and what God has in mind; perhaps YOUR name is about to be listed as one who was extremely important in the work at hand…
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the Bible. Thank You for writing to us and reminding us of who You are and what You have in mind. Thank You for the faithfulness of those who served rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem despite intense opposition. God, our lives may look easier than that, but we know there is spiritual warfare that still happens today. Perhaps we feel like we live in a little “hole in the wall” town, but maybe there’s significance even in that expression! Where do you want us to be? Who are we to be helping? Where are the ‘gaps in the wall’ and how do you want us to fill in? Please help us do our part and realize our significance in being born at the time that we were and living in the area that we do. Who should we pray for? How can we serve and protect? Call us to where You want us to be and help us obey Your commands. May we live our lives for Your glory and honor. We love You. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!