Last week, in The Nehemiah Solutions, Part 4, we discovered that the best way to deal with distractions is to simply ignore them. But the moment I heard we would have new neighbors, God placed it on my heart to make contact with them, to greet them to the neighborhood.
Now that sounds like a very neighborly thing to do, something that
anyone would do, but being incredibly shy by nature, such tasks
definitely push me out of my comfort zone!
Since these new neighbors moved in the very same week I had cancer
surgery, I had a jewelled excuse to put it off.
I convinced myself I did. There would be plenty of time for welcoming
the new neighbors when I didn't have so much on my own plate!
Then there was recovery from surgery. Surely God didn't expect me to
limp over there in such a poor state. Of course, once I had
recovered from surgery, I had to return to work. That was a major
thing because my energy was low. There just wouldn't be enough
energy to do what I needed to do around the house, work, AND welcome the
Then Christmas came. What a golden opportunity to welcome the new
neighbors! I could take them a little "welcome to the
neighborhood/Christmas" gift...but things are so busy at Christmas time.
Besides, I had a touch of the flu...
I know, just a bunch of excuses. Want to hear my latest one?
"It's too late to welcome the new neighbors! That’s something that
should have been done the first few weeks!"
God knows I often need a "push" from Him, and that's what He did this
morning, through Nehemiah, chapter 3.
Now Nehemiah 3 is the chapter that describes who rebuilt what part of
the wall of Jerusalem, and if you ask me, it's downright boring.
In fact, I was tempted to speed through the chapter the day before so
that I could move on to something more "inspiring". But after
reading about 12 verses of: "Then Eliashib the high priest rose up
with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated
it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred,
and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel. Next to
Eliashib the men of Jericho built..." (Neh 3:1-2, NKJV), God
wouldn't let me continue.
"Tomorrow!" He said. "Tomorrow you may finish reading this chapter!"
"Why, Lord?" I started to argue. But I already knew the answer.
The remainder of chapter 3, as dull as it was, contained a message for
me, one that God wanted me to hear "tomorrow"!
When tomorrow came, I must say that I wasn't exactly looking forward to
my Bible passage from Nehemiah. Especially as it went on and on:
"Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They
built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a
thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate. Malchijah the son
of Rechab..." (Neh 3:13-14, NKJV)
At one point, despite my deep-rooted belief that every word of God's
blessed Scripture has a specific meaning for me today, I looked up and
said, "Lord, this is downright boring!"
I did. And I'm ashamed to say that I almost missed it. In fact, I got to
the end of the chapter and even said, "See Lord? Nothing!"
I was immediately impressed to reread a specific section, and as I did,
it was like the words were written in bold letters in my Bible:
"After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their
house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of
Ananiah, made repairs by his house." (Neh 3:23,
I still didn't completely understand the depth of God's message to me,
but one thing I knew: God was speaking to me loudly and clearly: "My
mission for you is right here, right in your neighborhood, right 'by
Think about it! We think that to fulfill God's mission we must go
abroad or donate money or clothing to food banks and local charities.
These are good things to do, but each of these people mentioned in
Nehemiah 3 had a specific section of the wall that they were in charge
of! Some rebuilt around the temple, some around the palace, and
some rebuilt by his house, or
opposite their house! While we're busy helping the world
afar, our very neighbors cry out for help, cry out for a touch of the
Lord, cry out for Salvation!
As I contemplated this, God's instructions were clear: "Enough with your
excuses! Go and greet the new neighbors!"
I wish I could say I dropped everything and went right over, but I
didn't. In fact I spent the next few minutes arguing.
Maybe it was
just as well, for it was a bit early in the morning to be visiting. But
God was persistent, and I soon found myself in the kitchen baking
cookies. When they are done, I prayed for God to give me the courage to
overcome my shyness, and I went over and welcomed the new neighbors to
the neighborhood with a plate of homemade cookies.
The message to us today is clear: God has a mission for each of
us. For some, it is across the ocean. For some, it is across town. For
some, it is right next door. Thank you, Nehemiah, for the important
reminder that sometimes the work for us to do is literally by our house!
Then the wall was finished. Life would go back to normal, and
before long the people would begin to forget the series of
major miracles that brought about the completion of the wall. Nehemiah
was aware of this human tendency, and he was ready with a solution. Join
us next Saturday for the final edition of The Nehemiah Solution:
The Exuberance of Praise.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two
teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
(To access the rest of this mini-series, please click