For the last few weeks of 2016 I studied the book of Nehemiah. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that when I wrote down my hopes and goals for 2017 a lot of it included the word “build”. Build our tiny house. Build up A Faithful Mess. Build authentic, life giving relationships. Build skills. Build knowledge. Build faith.
Knowing that it was more than a coincidence, I went back into the story of rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem to look at the scripture with fresh eyes – and this verse jumped out at me;
“then I replied to them ‘the God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:20 (ESV)
Arise and build.
It’s important to know that Nehemiah is speaking to those who are mocking and doubting him for his ambitious vision. And instead of convincing, or giving into the mockery, Nehemiah responds with strength, confidence and faith. He doesn’t say that he hoped God would give them success – He said that God WILL give them success. It’s because of the confidence in His promise and their anticipation of seeing the movement of God – that they will arise and build.
They stand up and go to work because they are faithful to a Faithful God.
Despite challenges, despite mockery, despite an army coming against them – they work and build. At some points their opposition is so intense that they keep guards on watch 24/7 and some even have to build with one hand while holding a sword in the other. That’s a little more than keeping a watchful eye! These men and women were aware of what was going on around them, what was coming up against them and yet they stay focused and confident on the work before them. And what was before them was the hard and holy work of God.
Rebuilding the wall was not something that could be done by one man. It took thousands of people all doing their part. But it only happened because one person was wiling to act on God’s vision and heart. He was confident enough in God’s faithfulness, not his own ability, to pursue the impossible. His faith turned into action, and his action was a catalyst for the movement of God.
God may not be calling you to build a wall, but he is calling you to build his kingdom. Will you arise and build? Will you lean into the promises of God and have confidence in his ability and not your own?
Will you be a kingdom builder of this generation?
Yes, there will be opposition. Yes there will be set backs. Yes the work will be hard. But if you build what God is asking you to build He will show up. He will move in ways you never expected. He will be faithful to his faithful servants.
You will be able to look back, maybe not in 12 months, maybe not even 12 years – but you will be able to look back and see what God has built through you.
So be strong, powerful and confident this year with the mission he has given you. Remember that you are a servant of God, and a builder of His kingdom.
Stand up in faith. Be bold in your actions. Don’t be afraid to go against the crowd or when opposition comes. Say yes and amen to his promises. And then take action. Plan. Work. Labor. Persevere. Build with expectancy to see God move. Build because you have confidence in God and not your own abilities. Built because you know you are building his kingdom, and that is the most glorious work you could ever do.
So arise and build.