Thursday, August 12, 2010

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.

But, Nehemiah was an Israelite in exile, longing for home. One day a group of visiting Judeans give him the news that the walls of his beloved Jerusalem have been burned and destroyed. Nehemiah, overwhelmed with sorrow, believes that some action needs to be taken and so he begins the discerning process of praying and waiting. God's answer to Nehemiah is that he must ask the king for release from his duties in order start a construction company and begin repairing what had been broken in Jerusalem. For Nehemiah, the request was a huge risk! The mere asking could have resulted in Nehemiah’s death. God, however, had gone before Nehemiah and entered the presence of King Artaxerxes.

And so, with the King’s blessing and God’s hand pressing, 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.

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. Our earthly employment is secondary.

The walls of our society have been destroyed. Are we, as followers of Jesus, willing to strengthen our hands and do the good work of rebuilding, restoring and repairing?

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.

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