Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Main Thing

The youngest of our kids has been potty trained for some time now. That means no more diapers, at least until God gives us another one of His most precious gifts. You know, Tiffany and I never decided to have kids just so we could change diapers. I never asked Tiffany, “Can we have a baby, because I really want try this diaper thing.” In fact, with the three that we have, I never begged Tiffany, “can I change his diaper, pleeeaaase let me change that diaper.” I know that might be a shock to people, but honestly I never did (really!). That is not the reason why people have kids, but that has a lot to do with raising kids. And they never do it at a convenient time. And sometimes it comes out both ends. Nevertheless, just because our recent years have been filled with pampers and wipes, I can’t give up on my kids. I can’t quit on them because I didn’t know it was going to be a lot of hard work.

That is how Nehemiah got the Israelites to rebuild the walls in 52 days. He had all these distractions and yet he finished the construction in record time. How many road constructions have you seen that only took 52 days? How did Nehemiah do it? He did not give up. Yea, yea, he prayed and did a number of other important and necessary things, but in the end He did what God called him to do because he simply stuck to it. And he had three big distractions. Sanballet, Tobiah, and Geshem thought they could just walk right in and take Jerusalem with little or no effort. And when they saw Nehemiah rebuilding the walls, they plotted against him. They said at the beginning, “Nehemiah come down off that wall, we just want to talk to you” (Nehemiah 6:2). Now the last time I checked it is no sin just to go and talk with someone. But Nehemiah gave them his answer. He said “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3). Nehemiah did what I need to do so often. He focused on what was important rather than what was urgent. He kept going despite of the distractions.

We have a lot of distractions in life and the reality is that most of the time, serving our Lord Jesus Christ and just doing the work is not very glamorous. But we can’t lay aside the tasks given to us. We can’t give up on those great intentions with which we started. Because once those walls begin to fall and we give up on those important things in our lives, an opening is created for the enemy to come in. Let me encourage you as I have been encouraged. Whether it is setting aside the time required to grow intimate with our Savior and to speak with Him and to read His word, whether it is serving in our churches, whether it is sharing the gospel with those around us, don’t let the distractions keep us from these most important things in our life. If He did not spare Himself by placing Himself on the cross in our place to secure our eternity with Him, why would He withhold His grace to strengthen us and give us the courage we need to carry on? Keep going and don’t quit.


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