Why do you do what you do? Why are you here this morning? Why do you do the job you do? Why do you spend time the way you do? What’s your why, what’s your reason behind how you are living?
Forgive me for asking why so much. I have a 3 year-old and if you know anything about this stage is that they constantly ask “Why?” “Daddy why does it rain? Why is the sky blue? Why don’t babies have teeth? Why don’t birds talk?”
Toddlers instinctively ask why. That’s a good instinct that we lose as we get older, but I think it’s healthy for us to constantly ask ourselves: Why? Why am I doing what I am doing?
What’s your why? What’s your reason for what you are doing with your life?
We are looking at a leader, Nehemiah, who started with Why.
We are going to look Nehemiah 2:17-3.
How did a small group of people, in spite of opposition, accomplish this task? They started with WHY.
The people worked for the glory of God from beginning to end.
Nehemiah is deeply burdened when he hears of the plight of Jerusalem and its wall. He arrives and after inspecting the walls, he is ready to share his vision passion with the leaders: “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.” (Neh 2:17-18)
- Come let us rebuild the wall and we will no longer be in danger.
- Come let us rebuild the wall and we will keep out foreign people.
- Come let us rebuild the wall and our economy will improve.
- Come let us rebuild the wall and we will make a name for ourselves. That would be a Tower of Babel mistake.
- Come let us rebuild the wall and God will approve of us.
No. Nehemiah wasn’t motivated by safety, security, finances, nationalism, or selfish ambition.
“We will no longer be in disgrace”
So the people worked for the glory of God from beginning to end. That was their why. After you know your why, your reason, your purpose, then you have to face WHAT you need to do.
Nehemiah confronted the brutal facts and always believed God would grant them success.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he took time to inspect all the walls. He thoroughly understood the problem and what it would take to finish the project. When he comes to the Jewish leaders, he says to them:
“You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire.” (V. 17)
The first job a leader is to define reality. This is what Nehemiah did with the people. Our wall is in ruins. But God will grant us success.
Recap: Why: The people worked for the glory of God from beginning to end. What: Nehemiah confronted the brutal facts but had the unwavering faith God would grant them success. So they began the work. How did they do it?
A diverse coalition of people sacrificially worked together.
Now we come to Nehemiah chapter 3 and the actual rebuilding of the wall.
- It begins with all the priests who do the first section and dedicate it to God.
- Then we have the Men of Jericho, Men of Tekoa- these are cities outside of Jerusalem. So the wall will not personally benefit them or their families. But they are invested in the why. They don’t care that it’s not for them, it’s for God and his people. They show up at no personal benefit to themselves. Oh how we need people like this in the church today.
- We have people from the guilds. Blue-collar workers. The goldsmiths and the perfume makers. (V. 8)
- We have a ruler and his daughters. (V. 12)
- We have Levites. The tribe of Israel associated with the work of the Temple. (V. 17)
- There are a few references to regular folks repairing the section next to their own house.
In this section we have men and women, people from Jerusalem, people from neighboring towns, we have religious leaders and common folk, we have blue collar workers, and white-collar rules. We have priests, Levites, temple servants, fathers, husbands, daughters. It’s a diverse coalition of people that Nehemiah expertly organized to get the job done.
This is a picture of the Church.
Men, women, from various socio-economic places, church staff and volunteers, pastor and congregation, leaders in business, teachers, workers, carpenters, homemakers, children, teenagers, and senior adults, harmoniously working together to be a community for God’s glory wherever he has placed us.
- They worked for the glory of God from beginning to end.
- Confronted brutal facts and always believe God would grant them success.
- A diverse coalition of people sacrificially worked together.
This is what they did in Nehemiah’s day. What can we do in response?
Know your why.
What’s your why? Why do you do what your do.
If you have a why other than the glory of God, you will never find true joy in this life. If you lose your life for my sake, you will find it.
Know our why.
What’s our why as a church?
We exist to bring God glory in South Wheaton, by connecting diverse people into a compelling Christian community and to grow disciples of Jesus who reach our neighbors for Christ.
Find your place on the wall.
There is a spot for you in the glorious project of God’s kingdom. All of us have gifts from the Holy Spirit. As we pursue Christian community together, ask the Lord, where am I needed on the wall? Work there with all your might alongside other believers.
Jesus invites us now to the freedom of repentance and to live not yourselves any longer, but to live Soli Deo Gloria, for the glory of God alone and to find our place in his kingdom as we serve there alongside our brothers and sisters until he comes again or calls us home. That’s where true joy will be found. May that be WHY you do what you do.