Jump Start # 2510
Nehemiah 4:6 “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
I love this verse, “the people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah, through his great leadership, got the people to clean up the rubble and rebuild the walls around Jerusalem in fifty-two days. That is remarkable. In our times, we couldn’t get all the permits cleared in fifty-two days. And, what Nehemiah did wasn’t easy. The people were complacent. The opposition was strong. There were multiple reasons why this could have easily turned into a ten year project. But it didn’t. The people had a mind to work. That didn’t mean the work was easy. That didn’t mean they weren’t tired. But with each man building a section of wall in front of his own house, insured that it would be built strong and secure.
For the people had a mind to work. They didn’t at first. They didn’t on their own. But through teaching and leadership, all of that changed. The work was too much for one person. But together, with everyone having that mind to work, a great project was accomplished.
Now, there are several, several lessons that flow from this thought.
First, there is a need for strong, positive leadership that changes the will and the hearts of people. This is true in the home and this is true in the church. Screaming at the kids to get off the couch and go clean their rooms doesn’t work. Loading on the guilt at church doesn’t work well either. People need to be taught. People need to be shown. People need to be motivated. People need to be encourage.
There are many men, both in the home and in the shepherding role in the church, who do not know how to lead. They know how to bark out orders like in the military. They know how to scream, threaten, get mean and get ugly. But what they don’t know is how to develop a mind to work in others.
Here are a few thoughts on that:
The worthiness of the project needs to be seen. It’s like the story of the two stone masons working side by side. Asked what they were doing, one said, “I’m building a wall.” The other one said, “I’m building a cathedral in which God will be praised.” Same wall. Same project. Two different attitudes. The worthiness is shown by talking about the joy it will bring when the job is done. The good it will do for others when the job is done.
Next, demonstrating that you are a servant helps others. Rather than just screaming at the kids to do something, help them. Show them. When my little grandkids visit, we get all the toys out and the basement is littered with stuff. Before they leave, I help them pick it all up. We sing a little song, “Clean-up, Clean-up.” When the little ones see the big ones helping out, they’ll do their part. The work goes faster and it doesn’t fall to one person. “Can you help me,” is much more encouraging than, “you need to do this.” The bigger picture is not merely cleaning up a room, building a wall, but developing a mind to work. Having a heart of a servant.
Then, you give it your all. You along with others work hard. You don’t cut corners. You don’t look for the easy way out. You don’t just shove things under the bed. You do it right and you do it right the first time. You give your all, because that’s the way things ought to be done. You give your all because that’s just the right way.
And, you celebrate when you are done. For Nehemiah, they had a grand parade on top of that wall that was built. You might take those you worked with out to eat. You may spend some time watching a movie with the kids after you get the house cleaned.
You have a mind to work. This is so lacking today. People want a paycheck but they don’t want to work. People are looking for the easy way out of things. Too many elders in God’s kingdom today do not know how to get people to have a mind to work. It’s that “want to” that good leadership changes. I know elders that clean the church building, because no one else will. I know congregations in which the same people are teaching year after year. Tired. Worn out. Burned out. But no one else will step up. Strong arm pressure is how far too many operate.
Second, another great lesson here is having the mind to worship. When we gather, that’s the purpose. Shuffling in late, all the time, every time, and playing church is not having the mind to worship. Critical, complaining and sour spirits is not the mind to worship. Again, just like changing minds to work, leadership must change the minds to worship. What an honor, what a privilege it is to sing to God. What a joy it is to thank Him and glorify Him. What a delight it is to hear His word preached. Don’t hurry through worship. Don’t think other things are more important. Have a mind to worship. Get there early and stay late. Get there with a rested mind and a ready heart. Get there will joy, anticipation and excitement. Have a mind to worship.
Third, have a mind to follow Christ. The way of the cross leads home, we sing. Having a mind to follow the Lord eliminates the need to try to convince a person about why this needs to be done. Christ forgives. Christ is right. Christ leads us to Heaven. Why wouldn’t we follow Him. It’s an easy choice. Follow Him through grace and forgiveness of others. Follow Him with the eyes of a servant. Follow Him by leaving steps for others to follow. When a person has this spirit and heart, they never ask, “Do we have to go to church on Wednesday?” They want to, because they are following Christ.
Finally, have a mind to get engaged in kingdom work. Have a mind to work. Share things on your Facebook page that will help others spiritually. Pass along some sermon CD’s for others. Invite others to come worship with you. Be an encouragement to a young preacher. Find what you can do and then do it. Have a mind to work.
The reformer Martin Luther said, “If everyone would sweep in front of their own home, the world would be cleaner.” Having a mind to work is where it begins. Don’t wait for others, they may not have that mind. Don’t do it for glory, a part on the back or any other praise. Just do it because a wall needs to be built. Work hard. Work often. And, before you know it, the project is completed.
Have a mind to work…