November 15 I Sunday
“Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate....The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them....The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah.” —Nehemiah 3:1-3
The opening verse of this devotion may seem arbitrary, as it presents names of people that we are not familiar with. Not just the opening verse of this devotion, but the whole of Nehemiah 3 presents a list of names that many of us struggle to pronounce. If we are honest with ourselves, these are the chapters in the Bible, like the ones we encounter in the books of Numbers or Chronicles with a long list of names, that we quickly glance over. We may render the details of these names as boring and conclude not much is happening. However, we need to look beyond the surface and remember the words of 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Scripture is God-breathed; in other words, the list of names must be recorded for a reason.
The Holy Spirit led Nehemiah to make a meticulous account as to who did the work and what section they were working on for a reason. All these intricate details show us that God notices our work. He notices our effort and our “Yes!” to participate in His vision and work. And at the same time, Nehemiah 3:5 tells us, “The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.” God also notices and calls out the people who do not put their shoulders to the work.
When we apply this to the New Testament church, we will find that God notices the contributions and efforts of Christians using their spiritual gifts, and He notices those who do not. If we call ourselves Christians but are not serving or using the gifts that God has deposited within us because we are unsure of what our spiritual gift is, then rest assured, as we begin to serve, our gifts will start to emerge. Some may take a spiritual gift inventory test online to determine one’s giftings, but the best way to discover our spiritual gift is by rolling up our sleeves, putting our shoulder to the work, and serving.
Former baseball player Sam Ewing once said, “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” God notices the people who use their gifts and those who do not. There is a ministry that God has prepared and gifted us for. We simply need to say “Yes!” to God’s vision and let Him take our ordinary self and turn it into something extraordinary.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank You that I am not just part of the billions in this world but You notice me and the work that I do. Yes, God, please use me as You see fit in Your Kingdom work. Amen!