I love the book of Nehemiah. Especially the third chapter.
Anyone familiar with the book of Nehemiah will be probably scratching their heads in puzzlement right now, because reading Nehemiah 3 is kind of like reading the genealogies of 1 Chronicles! What could be possibly be interesting in a bunch of names and a few lines indicated what parts of Jerusalem’s wall they rebuilt?
“Then Eliashib the high priest and the other priests started to rebuild at the Sheep Gate…People from the town of Jericho worked next to them, and beyond them was Zaccur son of Imri…” (Nehemiah 3:1-2 NLT)
Nonetheless, I love this chapter of the Bible…
You see, this boring record of who rebuilt what parts of the wall is a key reminder of a vitally important truth: We all have a purpose!
Let’s take the sons of Hassanaah, as an example. They aren’t mentioned in any other part of the Bible, for all we know they were simple people who likely never thought they were contributing much to life. And their contribution was so small: the rebuilding of the “Fish Gate”. It must have seemed like a mere drop in the bucket of the work that needed to be done to complete the wall!
Yet, when you look at the purpose for the “Fish Gate”, you see this: The Fish Gate was the closest gate to the fish market, and it is believed that fishermen used this gate to bring fish to market. Thus, when the sons of Hassanaah rebuilt the “Fish Gate”, they were providing a way for the fishermen to bring their goods to market! That would become a pretty important gate as time went on!
Okay, so that does make it seem like the sons of Hassanaah were doing something important; but what about Meremoth? Vs. 4 records this: “Meremoth son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz repaired the next section of wall. Beside him were Meshullam son of Berekiah and grandson of Meshezabel, and then Zadok son of Baana.” (Vs. 4). If I had been Meremoth, I might have questioned the importance of my job. It was, after all, only one tiny part of … a wall! Come on Nehemiah, couldn’t you have given him something … important to do?
What he didn’t realize, however, was that the strength of a chain is defined by its weakest link. In like manner, the strength of a wall, which was the number one form of defence in those days, would have been defined by its weakest section! If Meremoth had, in any way, been slack about his responsibility, his section of the wall might have been the access-way for a foreign army to invade Jerusalem!
The point is, we haven’t all been given glorious tasks to do in life. Not everyone is an evangelist, not everyone can lead out worship or teach Sunday school. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute to the Lord’s work. Just like Hassanaah’s tiny task made a significant impact in the life of Israelite fishermen, and just like Meremoth’s tiny responsibility helped to fortify the entire city, whatever you are called to do, no matter how menial or tiny or boring, it will make a difference!
The apostle Paul puts this slightly differently: “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it…The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary….” (1 Corinthians 12:18-22 NLT)
It doesn’t matter what skills you do – or don’t — have. They can ALL be used to God’s glory! We all have our responsibilities, and just like the work on the wall of Jerusalem would have been severely handicapped if someone had neglected to do their job, the work of the Lord is also severely impacted if one of us doesn’t do our responsibility!
Naturally, no one is out building a city wall or constructing its gates in our day and age; but some of us can cook. Others have the gift of hospitality. Still others have musical abilities, while others are gifted in leadership. Some are organizers, others are helping hands. Some are handy, while others specialize in decorating, or simply cleaning. Whatever gift God has given to you, you need to sow it back into God’s kingdom, for when you do, you are, in essence, doing your part to finish the Lord’s work. You are doing what others cannot do, and as such, you are enabling them to do their jobs!
Here is a practical example. I facilitate a grief recovery group at our church. I arrived early in order to set up one night, only to find … the church doors were locked! To be perfectly honest, I had never even contemplated the idea that the church custodian, the one responsible for opening the doors during the week, was contributing to my group, and I seriously doubt he realized his importance, either. Nonetheless, without him, we couldn’t meet!
Friends, God has given you each a task to do for His kingdom. In the same way a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, God’s plan is also only as strong as its weakest contributor. Don’t be that weak link. Instead, follow the advice of the world’s wisest man: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Eccl. 9:10a NIV)!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderate, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries.