Read His Words Before Ours!
When we speak of building and relying on God, the Master Builder, throughout the building process, my mind immediately turns to parenting. As a Christian mama, my heart’s desire is to train my children in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6) Though I often fall short, I am daily seeking to build a legacy, attempting by God’s grace to talk with my children of God and His Word, in the hope of seeing love for God built into their hearts.
As I approach the passage from Nehemiah through which we are journeying today, I see so many nuggets of wisdom to glean and apply to my life’s work. These truths are for all of us regardless of whether you’re a parent! As Great Commission workers, we are all seeking to build God’s Kingdom!
First, I notice Nehemiah does not allow zeal or excitement to lure him into foolishly and immediately jumping head-first into construction tasks (which would be easy to do!). Instead, he surveys the area, he ponders, and he assesses before he gets to work. (Nehemiah 2:11-15) There is so much wisdom in this important first step because, as they say, “when you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
I see this as a lesson for me as a mama, too. With anything I am seeking to build and instill in my children, I first need to think about the end result, the character I hope my children possess as adults, what unique personalities and learning styles God gave to each one, and what they most need from me. Taking the time to engage in this important, preparatory step helps each of us work with victory and productivity. Nehemiah knew the same was true for him and his own divinely-inspired building project.
Next, I see the impact Nehemiah had on the community assisting him and vice versa. In Nehemiah 2:20, Nehemiah says, “The God of heavens is the one who will grant us success. We, His servants, will start building[.]” He proclaims these words in reply to naysayers and enemies; undoubtedly, facing this kind of opposition must have made Nehemiah’s fellow workers feel ill-prepared for the task, uncertain, and perhaps even afraid. Immediately following Nehemiah’s declaration, the atmosphere shifts, and everyone diligently sets to work. (Nehemiah 3)
This is a living testimony that “two are better than one[.]” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) We need the help, support, and encouragement of Christian community to spur us on in the building tasks set before us by the Lord God. I have certainly seen this to be true as a parent!
This passage also highlights the importance of godly leadership in ensuring service to the Lord actually comes to pass in our churches and communities. Without someone going first (in this case, Nehemiah), the important work of rebuilding may have never happened. In fact, an earlier attempt to rebuild the wall had already stagnated and failed when Nehemiah entered Jerusalem! Nehemiah bore an enormous mantle of responsibility, which he carries with humility and sobriety, repeatedly turning to God both for direction and as the only One who could empower the completion of the wall.
When thinking about building-up my children, I see the wisdom of Titus 2:3-5 and God’s design for older, wiser women to come alongside younger women. We need older mamas-in-the-Spirit to guide, encourage, and edify us in our God-given tasks, just like Nehemiah’s community needed him!
Finally, as we have already seen in Nehemiah 2:20, the focus is not truly on Nehemiah; he is not the star of the show. He was an important, faithful leader, yes, but he was not the Master Builder; that title belonged to God alone. This is such good news, because it means we don’t need to rely on ourselves to get everything right, to complete a task perfectly, or to make it all come to fruition.
The same is true for us, who all too often feel as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders and as if the success of our parenting–or any other–endeavors ultimately depends on us. The Lord is the One Who constructs the blueprints, Who builds, and Who ensures His plans to fruition. Our role is to lean into Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.
May this truth be a source of great encouragement to your heart in whatever God-given building task you find yourself today!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!