A Mind to Work

“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6)

The ambitious project of rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall, with all its gates and other structures, was completed in less than two months (Nehemiah 6:15), for all “the people had a mind to work.” This was in spite of the danger from the external enemies who wanted to delay the work if they could.

The third chapter of Nehemiah has a remarkable list of the workmen on the wall. Men of all walks of life participated, each with an assigned portion of the work as organized by Nehemiah. The first verse of the chapter tells of the work done by Eliashib, the high priest, and all the other priests; the last verse lists the contribution of the goldsmiths and the merchants. There were the Nethinims (v. 26), apothecaries (v. 8), rulers (i.e., “mayors,” vv. 9, 12, 14-16), and various others. At least one man even had his daughters working (v. 12). Only the nobles of the Tekoites “put not their necks to the work of their LORD” (v. 5).

This would be a good model for any doctrinally sound, Bible-believing church, school, or other Christian ministry. It’s a lesson we would do well to learn. The mission and its goal are surely more important than the special desires or interests of any individual or group. At the same time, enforced cooperation will only breed resentment and inefficiency. The people themselves must be led to understand it as not just a job to do, but as a divine calling they themselves must have “a mind to the work.” Otherwise they should probably be encouraged to work elsewhere.

The early Christians served “daily with one accord . . . and singleness of heart, . . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46-47). That’s the way it should be. HMM

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