Friday, June 10, 2011
This is certainly a dirty job – cleaning out the smoke box of a coal burning train engine. Not one I would be looking forward to doing on a regular basis. But I wouldn’t trade this one for the one Nehemiah had.
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. (Nehemiah 2:1 KJV)
Somehow I don’t think it was as simple as the act of picking up the wine, pouring it, then handing it to the king. Perhaps a small taste? Checking for poisons? Obviously Nehemiah had done the job with a positive attitude. The king must have had a concerned tone in his voice as he asked:
Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, (Nehemiah 2:2 KJV)
From history, as well as from the Bible, we know it was not always a good idea to be called to the attention of the king. This time was enough to make Nehemiah afraid, but it turned out well. He was sent to Jerusalem and tasked with rebuilding the temple. Not to everyone’s liking:
When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel. (Nehemiah 2:10 KJV)
Remember Tobiah? I wrote about him before. He and his friends were described among Nehemiah’s enemies, wishing to do him mischief:
Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) 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. (Nehemiah 6:1-2 KJV)
Four times they sent messengers for a meeting – just as our temptations come back to pick at us, taking our attention away from our jobs. I love Nehemiah’s answer:
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? (Nehemiah 6:3 KJV)
Now for the question – can you answer that you are doing a great work? No, I don’t mean something as physical as rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple, I mean the great work that God has planned for you.
The only way we can know what work He has for us is to be in communication with Him. We have to listen to what He says, not turn a deaf ear or talk over Him with what we want instead of hearing what He has to tell us.
Whether it’s a dirty job or not, working where God places us is truly “doing a great work,” and there are great rewards. What’s your job?