A MIND TO WORK Andy Hollifield 2-12-18
Nehemiah 4:6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
Nehemiah 4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
I have always loved the book of Nehemiah. When I was pastoring, I preached out of Nehemiah for probably six weeks with just a few exceptions. My people got to where they just turned to Nehemiah I think without even being told. I think they may have grown tired of it but God was leading that way and I just enjoyed the ride. I have always been pretty much of an optimist, at least on most things. To me, Nehemiah is an excellent picture of an optimist. Some would even call him a visionary. I know that the book starts off with him being anxious about news from the homeland, only to wind up being broken-hearted and crying and his countenance noticeably sad before the king because of the news he had heard. Sometimes there are things that show up in your life and touch your heart to the point that nothing else matters except seeing them through to a positive conclusion. That is pretty much the definition of a burden. Dictionary.com defines burden as (1) that which is carried; load. It goes on to say (2) that which is borne with difficulty; obligation; and also to load oppressively or heavily or to trouble. If you have ever been burdened for someone or for a situation in your life or someone elses, you know exactly what a burden is without even being told.
As I looked at this scripture as it was read in Sunday school today, it wasn’t verse 6 that jumped out at me but rather verse 10. You need to read that in context to really see what is going on. If you look at that verse, Judah comes to Nehemiah with 3 very good, verifiable, reasons why it can’t be done. The thing to remember is that sometimes a reason is just a word that sounds better than the word “excuse.” Look at what he was saying; he said the laborers that do all the heavy lifting are give out. Also, we’ll never get this place cleaned up. The last one summed up the first 2 when he said; We just ain’t able. Looking around, you couldn’t deny that he made some good points and based on what he seen, he was pretty much right. But the only thing is that Judah hadn’t been down there with Nehemiah at the palace when he spoke to his countrymen and got his heart broke. Judah hadn’t been the one that laid awake crying and wondering how in the world he could ever do anything but yet at the same time; knowing he had to try. Judah also hadn’t been with Nehemiah in chapter 2 as he took his midnight ride through the city only to come upon so much debris that his beast couldn’t pass. I am supposing all the while that Nehemiah was on his midnight tour, his mind was telling him, You can’t do this, there’s no way. While on the other hand his heart was telling him, There’s no choice, you have to get this done. In short; Judah wasn’t the one with the burden. He wasn’t the one like Nehemiah who went to bed with it and woke up with it. Judah no doubt was looking and seeing things for what they were. Nehemiah, on the other hand, was looking at what it used to be and what it was gonna be again. He was the one with the vision, not Judah.
I want to real quickly mention some of the things they faced as they worked. Remember verse 6. It said that “The people had a mind to work.” There were plenty of excuses not to but there were also plenty of reasons to believe. They not only had doubters within but also agitators without. The enemy mocked and made fun of them and tried to discourage them in their efforts. They were even having to work with one hand and a weapon in the other. They were also working daylight to dark each day and then being on guard duty each night. One thing to remember about this is how it is affecting those that are watching them. Sure, the enemies were making fun of them but Nehemiah’s people were seeing that he really believed what he was saying and doing. After a while, they began to believe and take it to heart and got under a burden to get things done. But it all started with just one incapable, broken-hearted, young man but Nehemiah 6:15 says, “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.”
What about you? Do you have a mind to work or would you rather sit and make up excuses why you can’t? Noah was no doubt called a fool but he believed in what the Lord had told him to do so he just kept working. I am sure that Gideon was made fun of for thinking that he could go to battle with only 300 men but nobody else had the things in their heart from God that Gideon had. Don’t you reckon that some of the Jews thought Joshua had done lost his mind when he started marching them around Jericho in silence for 6 days. What do you think they thought when the walls fell? What’s your vision or your burden? Do you even have one? What is the thing that God has given you to believe in and do that seems downright ridiculous? What are you doing about it? Are you gathering what you need and making plans or are you doubting and laughing it off? What is your wall and when are you going to start building it?
I have my own wall that even I can’t see how it is going to come to pass. The Gideon Home For Unwed Mothers has gone from a thought, to a dream, to a burden, to a plan, and will eventually become a reality. Five phases and five is the number of grace. Your wall may not even be anything that anyone else will ever know about, but you know and God knows. Just like Nehemiah in the last sentence of chapter 2 verse 9: “And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.” In verse 18 he repeats that thought and finishes out with this: “So they strengthened their hands for this good work.” You have got a good work to do for the Lord. Strengthen your hands. You may be in distress right now as in verse 17, but rest assured that God’s hand will be good upon you and strengthen you for the work he has put in your heart. Do you have a mind to work? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!