Today we’re still camped out in Nehemiah 3 because there’s just so much to unpack in this chapter! I encourage you to read through the whole chapter again today and see what else leaps out from the pages.
While I was reading through the chapter yet again, I was struck by the heart postures of two different groups of people: the priests and the nobles of Tekoa.
“Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel.” Nehemiah 3:1 (ESV)
The high priest and his cohorts stepped up and led the way. They understood their position as men of God and set an example for the rest of the people to follow. They knew everyone was looking up to them, so they stepped up without hesitation. The priests took responsibility for the Sheep Gate, the part of the wall the sheep to be sacrificed would pass through. These men cared for the temple and the people and this was an opportunity to serve the Lord in a practical way.
It’s so easy to think of the high priests as men who were stuck in their religious tower who were unwilling to spend time with the “regular people”. But these priests were different. They rolled up their sleeves and put in the hard work needed to make a real difference in people’s lives.
“And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.” Nehemiah 3:5 (ESV)
One of the many things I love about the Bible is the sass of the men who wrote it. These men who were unwilling to pitch in are called out. Thousands of years later, I have no idea who these men were or what things they accomplished, I just know that they were unwilling to pitch in and help rebuild the wall. They were too proud, too busy, too “noble” to help, and their actions have long outlasted them.
While I would love to say that most of the time I react like the high priests, the truth is that I probably have more in common with the nobles of Tekoa. I can get so busy that I don’t want to be inconvenienced by helping another. I can get so wrapped up in perfectionism that I don’t think I can make a difference. Or I can get so overwhelmed by the problem that I don’t take a single step to help someone in need.
Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in my own bubble that I forget to look outside of myself and understand how my actions can benefit others. But thankfully, God is patient with me and is drawing me toward helping others instead of merely helping myself. He consistently reminds me that I was not made to serve me, but to serve him through serving others. After all, that’s what Jesus did, so how can I not do the same?
Let’s take a few minutes to examine how we feel about serving others. Do you see it as an inconvenience or an embarrassment? Do you see it as an act of worship and something incredibly noble? Or do you find yourself somewhere in between? Wherever we are on the serving spectrum, let’s take a step toward practically serving another today and see what happens.
How do you see serving?
What’s one way that you can serve another today?