Friday, August 8, 2008

In God's Employ

So they strengthened
their hands
for the good work.

Nehemiah 2:18c

Nehemiah had a good, steady job in the palace of King Artaxerxes. As cupbearer it was his responsibility to protect the king by tasting the food and wine served to the king for possible poisons. Granted, it was a risky occupation, depending on the political environment, but it was also a job that was respected. A cupbearer was a trusted employee.

Nevertheless, Nehemiah was an Israelite in exile, longing for home. One day a group of visiting Judeans tell him that the walls of his beloved Jerusalem have been burned and destroyed. Nehemiah, overwhelmed with sadness, knows action needs to be taken and begins the discerning process of praying and waiting. God's answer to Nehemiah is to ask the king for release from his duties in order that he might go to Jerusalem, start a construction company and begin repairing Jerusalem’s walls. On the part of Nehemiah, the request was a huge risk! Just because he asked, the king could have ordered Nehemiah’s death. God, however, entered the presence of King Artaxerxes before Nehemiah.

And so, Nehemiah leaves behind him the stability, comfort and respect of his palace position and heads to Jerusalem to begin what God has called him to do—the good work of repairing what has been destroyed.

We are modern day Nehemiahs. Whatever our “employment” whether an attorney, quilt maker, doctor, teacher, sales clerk, homemaker…, God calls us to strengthen our hands for the good work. As Jesus followers, we are in God’s employ.

What Kingdom job is God asking you to do?

Jesus, sometimes I get so caught
up in my “earthly employment”
that I forget I am also in Your employ.
I am open to all positions!
Show me what Kingdom job
you have for me.
Artwork--Prunella Clough (1919-1999) Broken Gates, Tate Collection

No comments: