A few years ago, I worked with one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with. We were so different from one another and yet we were able to get the job done incredibly well. We all had unique strengths and expertise but we were each willing to defer to the other when necessary. There were still many difficult and heated moments during our time together but, on the whole, we were able to flow as one cohesive unit in a way that I haven’t experienced since.
One of the things about that team that made it so great is that we each knew our position and, for the most part, stayed in our lanes. I wasn’t about to go run over and do someone else’s job unless they asked me for help and they extended me the same courtesy. But identifying and staying in our lanes isn’t always that easy.
Today, I want to focus on some different people that we’ve been following throughout our journey through the book of Nehemiah. Let’s hone in on the responses of Nehemiah, the princes, and the Levites and priests.
“Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.” Nehemiah 9:38 (ESV)
To me, one of the coolest things about this book is that it starts out as if Nehemiah is the protagonist, but as it unfolds we see that he’s really not. This whole book, while Nehemiah-heavy in the beginning, is about the goodness of God and his relentless pursuit of his people. Nehemiah didn’t seek to be the hero of his own story but stepped out of the spotlight so that people would look to God instead of him.
I love that there’s no mention of him here. In this pivotal moment, when the people were following through after counting the cost, promising to serve God, Nehemiah isn’t at the forefront. He was able to gracefully take a step back and allow others to flourish and lead.
Lord, help me serve like Nehemiah!
It’s so easy to think that God is only limited to the religious part of our lives. In American culture, especially, we are great at compartmentalization: everything has its own little box. But we aren’t supposed to have all of these isolated and unrelated parts of our lives and God should be the thread woven throughout every facet.
The fact that the princes were involved with the signing of this document and the making of the covenant just warms my heart. These people knew that they didn’t exist in a vacuum but they took responsibility for their relationship with the Lord and the role they played in the community.
Lord, help me take responsibility like the princes!
Priests and Levites
These men were specifically chosen and set apart by God and they were returning to their God-given positions. They didn’t run from this, but ran toward it. They accepted what God had called them to and decided to run in their lane. They weren’t consumed by shame of their past disobedience, but embraced the freedom and forgiveness extended to them by God. They understood the position of leadership they held in the lives of the people and chose faithful obedience.
Lord, help me embrace freedom like the Levites and priests!
We’re all in different positions and called to do different things in our lives, but that doesn’t make one any less important than any other. No matter our jobs, our locations, our aspirations, or our callings, we all play an important role. And we can all serve the Lord whole-heartedly, no matter our position.
I hope we’re able to take a look at our positions today—whether they’re exciting or not, fulfilling or not, where we want to be or not—and see how we can honor God and serve others where we’re at right now. Our positions are important and strategic; let’s steward them well.
What’s your current position?
How can you be intentional with where you’re positioned today?