God called a man named Nehemiah to a job:
Repair the walls of Jerusalem that had been torn down in war.
Straightforward, and God also gave him a plan.
He went slowly, laid the foundation, gathered the workmen,
Got the workmen together, and when it was right,
Called the people to action.
But a man … one man … heard it, and the scripture says
He was wroth, and took great indignation,
And mocked the Jews.
Now, I don’t even have to know what ‘wroth’ means
To get the idea this man had it in for the project.
And he began to mock those building the walls.
He taunted, acting like he was talking to his brothers and army of Samaria.
What are these feeble Jews doing? (Questioning their value as a people.)
Will they fortify themselves? (Are they strong enough to do this?)
Will they sacrifice? (Can they give enough of themselves to do this?)
Will they make it to the end of the day? (Can they finish the job?)
Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish? (Can they redeem the rubbish?)
The fourth chapter of Nehemiah tells the process they went through
To overcome the mocking, the way God helped them,
And the courage with which they worked.
I got a picture of workmen crawling over the rubble,
Picking up the usable stones along the way,
And using them again to make the new wall.
And I understood something about contemporary times:
We have to climb over the rubbish, picking up what is useful,
And make our way toward the joyous fulfilling of God’s call on our lives.
Those twenty things that wear me down as I try to get one simple thing accomplished.
The reducing of individuals to a mere number makes me cringe.
Making me fit into society’s boxes instead of being me makes me rebel.
And then there are the people who stand on the sidelines and ask questions:
Why did you do it that way?
How successful are you? Have you made any money yet?
Why don’t you try my way? I got rich this way.
Are you sure you know what you are doing?
Asking the questions you tortured yourself with before you even started.
And God says: “Climb over that pile of rubbish,
Pick out the good suggestions people give you and bring them along,
Because there are those who really care about what I’ve called you to.
Don’t let the others discourage you. Don’t let them break your spirit.
Meet my standard for you, not anyone else’s comparisons.
Fulfill your calling and that’s enough.
INSPIRATION: NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 4