From time to time I write about a thought provoking sermon given by my Pastor, Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church. His sermon, given on the first Sunday in January of 2020, was timely and quite inspirational. It was much more than a sermon on New Year's Resolutions. It was all about commitment.
The setting was about 330 BC, a time when the Israelites were still captive in Babylon. Nehemiah, the cup bearer for the Babylonian King at the time Artaxerxes ( a very high position in the political structure of the times) received permission to return to Jerusalem (Nehemiah's home town) to assist in the re-construction of Jerusalem, which was completely destroyed by Israel's many enemies.
Nehemiah had many enemies who were threatened by this work of re-construction. In fact, a few of the groups most opposed to Nehemiah's successful re-construction tried to lure him outside of Jerusalem's walls where they planned to murder him.
These enemies sent messengers to Nehemiah on four separate occasions. Nehemiah would not budge. In fact, his most famous statement, found in Chapter 6 of the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament was: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down (from the Jerusalem wall he was working on). Why should I leave it and come down to you?” (Verse 3).
The message for us, said Andy, is that assuming we are going a good work for God, we should not be distracted by lesser important things. So if we have been able to figure out what truly is important in our lives and we are genuinely pursuing this goal, then we should not let our focus be diverted by the here and now.
We all need to focus on the big picture… how we can serve The Living God in our lives. When we are fortunate enough to have found this “sweet spot” in our life, then we must not come down from the wall of God's works to be distracted by something of lesser value and importance.
Have you found that “sweet spot” where you will eventually hear Jesus' words:” Well done, my good and faithful servant!” If so, then don't come down off the wall for lesser things. That was the message Nehemiah gave to his enemies. It was a timely message given by Andy, and it is one worth repeating often as we move through the daily living trials we all face.