What one word would you use to describe your work? In Nehemiah 6:3, this God-ordained leader gives a simple but profound statement:
And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
In the face of profound challenges, Nehemiah reveals much by describing his work as great. Why must we honestly view our family, ministry, and even vocational responsibilities as great?
Viewing our work as great provides six protections:
- From Distracting Dialogue with God’s Enemies
Ne 6:2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
- From Being Worn Down by Wrong, Persistent Appeals
Ne 6:4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
- From Overreacting or Over-valuing Man’s Words
Ne 6:5-7 Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
- From Forgetting the Power in Prayer
Ne 6:9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands
Ne 6:14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
- From Being Manipulated through Fear
Ne 6:10-13 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
- From Missing the Unmistakable, Miraculous Completion of God
Ne 6:15-16 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
What word would you use to describe your work for God? As a stay-at-home mother? As an underpaid and under-appreciated cubicle dweller? As a faithful “nobody” in some nuance of obscure ministry? As an on-the-line factory worker? As an overwhelmed administrator or pastor in a “too big” or “too little” place of influence?
If the word that instinctively forms in your heart is anything less than great, you are extremely vulnerable to the same threats the swirled around the bent shoulders of Nehemiah on the half-erected walls of Jerusalem! May I remind you that any work we have for God is great because He is great! Our lack of “greatness” is indicative of a disconnect with the God who exceeds time and space. Would you ask Him to refresh your outlook in the home, workplace, and church with His grandeur and glory? Would you join Nehemiah…and me in saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down?” Don’t come down because of man; look up because of God!