A Mind to Work
There isn’t a day when I don’t think about my grandmother, Mary Glasper, and her two brothers, Clemmie Thompson, and Elmer Thompson.
As siblings, they depended on one another, looked out for one another, and even argued with one another.
I thought so much of them that I turned down an opportunity to go away to college so I could stay closer to home to help them out.
The thing that I really admired about all three of them was their strong work ethic.
In fact, a strong work ethic was something all three of them imparted in me.
Not only did they believe in working hard for themselves, but they believed in working you hard as well.
I didn’t have the pleasure of staying up all night and sleeping all day during the summer like most children today. My grandmother and her brothers believed in waking you up early in the morning during the summer and putting you to work.
As we continue our journey through Nehemiah, we are given a description of the people’s work ethic when the writer tells us that the people had “a mind to work.”
Nehemiah has examined the conditions of the wall and he has organized a team to work on rebuilding the wall.
Chapter 4 lets us know that there were three individuals who were not in favor of what Nehemiah and the builders were attempting to do.
It should be noted that the enemy will show up to discourage and distract whenever something positive is going on.
Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem proved to be an enemy to Nehemiah and his faithful followers by providing constant opposition to the work that was going on.
I’ve discovered that you will either encounter or have the attributes of two kinds of people in life. You will either meet or be a dream builder and you will either meet or be dream killer.
Dream builders are people who will not only listen to your dreams, goals and aspirations but they will also encourage you to pursue them despite how they may sound. They are miserable people and they want everyone around them to be miserable as well.
Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem proved just how miserable they were by laughing at the efforts of Nehemiah and insulting him and the builders.
In other words, they were opposing the work of Nehemiah. In our lives, we can be sure that we will face opposition on our journey.
The question becomes, how will we face our opposition?
Nehemiah shows us the importance of properly handling our opposers by ignoring what they have to say. He also suggests to us that opposition is an important component because it reveals the path we are on.
The lesson we learn from chapter 4 is that instead of talking back to the people who oppose us, we should begin talking to the Lord about our opposers.
This fourth chapter shows us the devotion of the people to work in the face of opposition.
May I suggest that the key to standing firm is a devotion to God and to His work.
The workers were not only devoted, by they were driven to work.
In other words, Nehemiah had motivated the people to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
When it comes to work, we must examine our drive, or our motives, to find out if they are for self-glorification or if they are to bring glory to God.
As liberal as God is, there are some things, such as His glory, that He is not willing to share.
Finally, the workers were determined.
It was their determination that kept them focused on the wall and not on what the enemy had to say.
It was their determination that drove them to stay on the wall until the work was finished.
What have you let slip through the cracks?
Are you going through the motions on a project?
I challenge you to let your devotion, drive and determination push you to “stay on the wall” until the work is complete.
Jamal Brown is the managing editor of the Siftings Herald and the Gurdon Times. He is also the pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church of Camden.