Nehemiah is one of my heroes. He left a cushy job in the palace in Persia to go back to the dusty, broken down city of Jerusalem and helped them rebuild a wall of protection. Not your every day character.
Nehemiah is considered a great leader and motivator and lots of sermons are preached about him. He’s used as a model on how to be successful and accomplish great things. But there’s something I believe that is often missing from the lessons taught about Nehemiah. We often look to Nehemiah as the miracle worker. The master builder of a mighty task.
But 2 verses stand out to me in Nehemiah that often go unnoticed when looking at the amazing feat that was accomplished by the rebuilding of the wall.
Nehemiah 4:6 – So WE rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the PEOPLE worked with all their heart.
Nehemiah 6:15-16 – So on October 2nd the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.
I find both of these passages fascinating. In Christian circles today much focus is put on methods of growing churches, developing big works and it seems the church with the most numbers wins. There is no end to the books, videos and “how-to” material out there telling pastors and church leaders how to “win” a crowd, how to grow a group, how to develop a ministry.
But back to Nehemiah and here’s my question. Did God give the building of the wall to Nehemiah alone? Did God expect Nehemiah to do all the work? How far would Nehemiah have gotten without 1) the people who worked with all their heart and 2) the help of God?
The burden wasn’t on Nehemiah to build the wall alone. No doubt Nehemiah picked up a hammer from time to time, but his job was to lead the people. There could be only one leader. But it took ALL the people to do the work. Likewise, there was only one God who could sustain them through the task. And when it was accomplished then the surrounding countries knew the work was of God.
Now, ask yourself: If there is a great work that needs to take place in my community and in my church, then how will that work get done?
Let the leader lead.
Let the people be willing to follow his lead and roll up their sleeves.
Let God bring the results.
It’s a great plan Bro. Nehemiah. I hope we can follow your lead.