In the book of Nehemiah, God’s people follow a call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah gathers, directs, and works alongside the Isrealites to restore the physical and also the mental/emotional state of their city. While I’m no theologian, when reading through Nehemiah I noticed that Nehemiah wasn’t specifically, audibly called by God for this job. God burdened his heart for these people. He begs God for His leading. He prays earnestly that God would open doors to restore His people. Nehemiah sees himself as willing and capable to respond to the need of God’s people. This is sometimes how I feel. God has burdened my heart with injustice. There is a problem that is near to God’s heart, just like in Nehemiah. I am a willing and capable servant answering a call.
But this is not the point. There is another element to this story of Nehemiah.
To be honest, the biblical narrative is kinda boring. There’s many lists of materials and names that are hard to pronounce. It’s not an epic tale with action, wars, and valiant bravery like David and Goliath. It’s about a fairly mundane task of repairing a broken down city, dealing with politics of kings and money, and finishing a necessary job. Specifically in chapter 3, it becomes very redundant in the explanation of how they rebuilt each piece of the wall.
“3 The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. 4 Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs.”
Frankly, these are hard thoughts to connect, but stay with me.
A servant of God was burdened when he saw a need. He then took on a tedious, mundane job, and it was documented. The book of Nehemiah does a thorough job of explaining the materials and procedures of fixing a wall. To me it seemed boring, but looking into it, there must be a reason God wanted it put in His Word. It’s makes sense, though, when you look at the importance of this ‘boring task’ of rebuilding the wall. A wall around their city was vital to establish boundaries, provide protection, and restore the people who had been in exile. It wasn’t a sought-after job, but it was needed. It wasn’t glorious, but it was necessary.
This is where I am.
Being a Family Teacher can be very mundane. Hitting a certain level of comfortability with our job has brought on a new need to be intentional about what we do. I found myself thinking of the verse ‘do not grow weary in doing good’ frequently this week as I completed many technical parts of this job – paperwork, meal planning, laundry, bedtimes, grocery shopping. I’m fairly certain that others feel this same way whether it be about their job, family, or anything one does on a regular basis. This is the Daily Grind. But we have to look past the practical into the importance of the job. If there is anything I’ve learned from a tough month in this job, it is how essential this task is. I think this is mirrored in the book of Nehemiah, in the life of Nehemiah. I have found much encouragement from reading through the small, mundane, daily role of the workers on that wall. They didn’t give up. They worked together. They had many obstacles, but overcame.
It seemed like a simple order to rebuild a wall. Yet, I can’t imagine it was easy to keep at it every day. It had to be hard to keep looking toward the end goal. Not many jobs are extraordinary, there is always a part of our lives that is mundane. But God has called us to it. He has called us to be faithful to Him, to see a need and meet it, to work to the best of our ability for His glory. He doesn’t ask us to change the whole world. He wants us to change OUR world, sometimes by faithfully completing everyday tasks with His love.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9