“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3
The security guard found and removed a piece of tape that was keeping a door from clicking shut. Later, when he checked the door, he found it had been taped again. He called the police, who arrived and arrested five burglars.
Working at the Watergate building in Washington, DC, the headquarters of a major political party in the US, the young guard had just uncovered the biggest political scandal of his lifetime simply by taking his job seriously—and doing it well.
Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem—a task he took very seriously. Toward the end of the project, neighboring rivals asked him to meet with them in a nearby village. Under the guise of a friendly invitation was an insidious trap (Nehemiah 6:1–2). Yet Nehemiah’s response shows the depth of his conviction: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (v. 3).
Although he certainly possessed some authority, Nehemiah may not have rated very high on the hero scale. He wasn’t a great warrior, not a poet or a prophet, not a king or a sage. He was a cupbearer-turned-contractor. Yet he believed he was doing something vital for God. May we take seriously what He’s given us to do and do it well in His power and provision.
What has God called you to do? Why is it important for you to take it seriously—seeing it as a great work?
Dear God, help me to believe that I’m doing a great work. I trust that You’ve called me to this in this season. Give me the focus to stay the course.
The Jewish exiles returned from Babylonian captivity in three different groups. Zerubbabel (ca. 538 bc) and Ezra (ca. 458 bc) led the first two returns. Nehemiah (ca. 444 bc) led the third return, with the sole purpose of repairing the broken walls of Jerusalem, providing much needed protection for the city (Nehemiah 1–2). This repair project was met with strong and hostile opposition (chs. 4–5). As the project neared its completion, Nehemiah’s enemies tried to distract and delay him from his task by inviting him to go to Ono for “peace talks.” To get to Ono, an obscure little village near the border of Samaria, Nehemiah would have to take a long, twenty-five-mile, fruitless journey through some very deserted and dangerous terrain. Nehemiah knew that his enemies “were scheming to harm [him]” (6:1–4). Despite the opposition, obstacles, and discouragements, however, the wall project was completed in record time—fifty-two days (v. 15).