Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we will no longer be a disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me, and what the king had said to me.
“Let us start rebuilding,” they replied, and they set their hands to this good work. Nehemiah 2:17-18
Nehemiah was faced with the huge, seemingly insurmountable task of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem which lay in ruin. Not only that, he knew there would be opposition from enemies and doubt from his own people. But this did not stop him. If you read the earlier verses of chapter 2 you find Nehemiah covertly surveying the landscape and getting a handle on the condition of the wall. He quietly planned, projected the resources required, and formulated a strategy.
Perhaps like me, some of you enjoy, even excel, at planning. There is something fun about creating scenarios, assessing probabilities and establishing goals. It is fun examining how to make things better. Not only is it fun, it is very important. Creating a plan for moving forward is an essential step in making progress. But the plan, unless implemented is useless. This is where we can learn a lesson from Nehemiah.
He understood that a day when all doubt, opposition and uncertainty was gone was not coming. If the wall was going to get rebuilt it was going to be done with those elements still present. Those things were not going to stop him. So, he utters those bold words in verse 17: Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He pushed all his chips into the middle of the table with God, trusted in His divine favor, and led the people forward.
Later in the book, after completing the wall in just 52 days, even their enemies understood that God was behind it all and trembled with fear. Frankly, Nehemiah’s plan did not have to be perfect. His strategy did not have to be remarkable. It was God who gave life to Nehemiah’s dream and put Himself on display. Nehemiah’s role was to set things in motion. The wall was completed because “they set their hands to this good work” (18).
Are you stuck in the planning phase of things God has put on your heart? You cannot plan enough to remove all risk. Neither can you anticipate every obstacle that will arise. But the fact remains, if you never set your hands to the work, you have guaranteed failure. And you never give God the chance to do something so cool that others are left with no other explanation than it must be God.
What do you need to stop planning and start building this week?
Live this week on purpose,