Today concludes our Nehemiah Mini-Series on facing our everyday fears that threaten to hold us back from living out our dreams, our desires, our purposes, our passions. Nehemiah is a big example of someone recognizing a desire placed in his heart by God, facing the criticism of others, praying through opposition and obstacles, and accomplishing an amazing task for God. One thing I hope you walk away with is this. We are not all a Nehemiah. And that is perfectly OK. In fact, it’s more than ok, it’s the way God designed it.
This world doesn’t need millions of Nehemiahs. My hope through this series was that we could look at the whole picture of Nehemiah and see the various components of the story and how it applies to our daily lives.
Neh 4:6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. The people worked with all their heart. I love that. To work something with all our hearts, we usually are working out of our giftedness. It’s hard for me to work with all my heart in certain tasks. I am not a fan of physical labor. My husband will plan these outdoor workdays, which are just miserable for me. He will often say, “It won’t happen just by you looking at it.” I’m just hoping that if I stare hard enough and long enough, it will magically happen without me lifting a finger. It doesn’t work that way. I rarely work with all my heart on those projects because I’m so focused on what feels so unnatural to me. I rarely look for my talents in those times and how I can apply them to the task.
To accomplish something as big as the rebuilding of the wall, it took everyone working with all their hearts. Nehemiah was gifted as a leader. Others, I imagine, were gifted with encouragement. Maybe they were speaking words of inspiration to their fellow workmen during those long hours. Others might have been gifted with strength and a strong work ethic. They might have served as examples to others that struggled in this area, and they likely picked up some of the lags left by others not so gifted here. Some might have been gifted with organization skills. Maybe they used their talents of organization to keep the project flowing well and efficiently. Maybe some were gifted with administrative skills and were able to focus on the small details that others missed, which are vitally important to a big project.
The point is this, we all have gifts, talents, natural bents. When these are aligned with the purposes God places in our hearts, which give way to finding what we are passionate about, amazing eternal work is accomplished.
I have a friend who got a new puppy. She began walking her puppy around the neighborhood several times a day. Puppies are a people magnet, and she suddenly found herself having conversations with some of the same people everyday. Many of these were elderly people that she did not know prior to getting her new puppy. Then she noticed that some of the elderly would see her through a window in their home and come out just to talk to her and pet her puppy.
My friend is the most amazing listener. When I’m with her my love for talking and her love for listening go together dangerously well. She felt a stirring in her heart. Slight stirring. She recognized that stirring would come alive when she was talking to the folks that lived around her. These people were drawn to her because she can listen. Really listen. And many of these people are alone all day long with no one to listen to them. She gives them that opportunity.
She is a busy mom, yet she recognized the Lord’s purpose He had placed in her heart for this place, for this time, for this season. It is becoming her ministry. Now, does my friend go around shouting from the rooftops about her ministry? No. Does her ministry look as grand as something like Proverbs 31 Ministries that reaches millions of people? No. Her desire isn’t a Nehemiah desire. She recognized her giftedness and applied it to her daily life, thus living out her desires and passions. She learned to be content as a fellow workmen on the building of something with eternal significance.
What happens when everyone is working out their passions and purposes using what God placed in them. What if others had thought their gifts weren’t as grand as Nehemiah’s and did nothing? What if they compared themselves to Nehemiah ‘I’m not a Nehemiah…what can God do?’ Then Nehemiah’s purpose would not have been fulfilled. He used his gift of leadership to inspire a people. But the builders used their own talents and gifts to follow Nehemiah. Without each of them working together, the purpose would not have been fulfilled.
Some desires are big. Some are not. From an eternal standpoint, they are all monumental.
This is Part 5 to a mini-series titled Everyday Fears. We are looking at Nehemiah and how a desire, which turned into a passion, was awakened in him and how he fought through fear to accomplish a purpose. Nehemiah is a big example. Don’t let that intimidate you. Our purposes aren’t always as grand as rebuilding a wall for a nation. Some of our purposes may seem so small that we feel silly sharing them. That’s what fear wants us to think. I pray through this series we will begin to examine what God has placed in us that begs to be awakened. Big or small, if God placed it in us, it needs to be awakened.
You can see all parts here: