“I am doing a great work....” (Nehemiah 6:3).
There are many people who meander through life as though it were a flea market, browsing the bins for the deal of a lifetime, but only coming home with someone else's junk. Others are a bit more like the crazy rabbit in Alice’s Wonderland, always on the go for something that is always somewhere else; and never getting there.
Some people set in the stands and watch others play the game, and reassure themselves that they could do that if they wanted to. Others see a great opportunity of some kind, and console themselves with a reflective sigh, “I should do that.” But, of course they never do. And then there are those who wistfully say, “I would do that,” hinting by their tone that it’s somebody else’s fault if they don’t.
Could do, should do, and would do never do. The only thing that works is when you find the thing that you must do.
God uses the inner pull of that upward call to free you from the gravity of lesser things. There is a resolute power inherent to any great work, and once you become involved in such an enterprise, you are virtually unstoppable.
Nehemiah undertook the great challenge of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, and was constantly opposed by enemies who sought his ruin. First they tried ridicule; it didn’t work. Then they made overt threats of hostility; it was, as they say, water off a duck’s back to Nehemiah. Next they attempted covert sabotage; but he foiled their plot. Nothing fazed him. Finally they tried the diplomatic approach, seeking some sort of compromise.
Nehemiah’s answer stands to this day as one of the greatest closers in any conflict: “I am doing a great work,” he said, “Why should the work stop while I come down to you?” Nehemiah's passion for answering the upward call, minimized the effects of those who were always seeking to drag him down to their level.
They lost; he won. The same will be true of you. The words of this old hymn say it best --
“I am resolved no longer to linger,charmed by the world's delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,These have allured my sight.
I am resolved to enter the kingdom,leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me;Still I will enter in.
I am resolved, and who will go with me?Come, friends, without delay.
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,We'll walk the heavenly way.”
Palmer Hartsough, 1896