“Not right now . . .”
“Just let me finish this . . .”
I usually say these words to dismiss something that’s not quite as important as what I’m doing at the moment. We’ve all said them. In fact, Nehemiah said them too, and for good reason. He has been given a clear calling from God to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem after some of the Israelites returned from captivity. He was divinely appointed and accomplished in 52 days what others had been attempting for years. He was on a mission!
Several years ago, our life group was doing a study by Andy Stanley called “Discovering God’s Will.” One of the last lessons still sticks with me because Mr. Stanley used a line from Nehemiah along with the illustration of a ladder.
“I’m doing a great work, and I can’t come down.”
In other words – “Not right now.” . . . “I’m busy.”
Andy Stanley’s point was, Nehemiah wasn’t distracted away from his God-given task, even by some good-looking requests (Nehemiah 6:1-4). He wasn’t distracted into defending himself either (Nehemiah 6:5-9). Man, I would have been down that ladder like a shot! But Nehemiah had the clear vision of what God had called him to do, and he kept that focus until his task was complete.
I’ve had this part of the post in my head for months. I wondered why I hadn’t just sent it in. A few weeks ago, God showed me why. We were coming home from our vacation, going to church with our friends. In a class on Judges, God’s Word leaped out of the page to me. I have no idea what the conversation was for a while because God was speaking to me.
Most of you know the familiar cycle of disobedience, discipline, repentance, and restoration that fills the book of Judges. You more than likely know how the book of Judges ends (“all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” Judges 21:25). What struck me is how it begins:
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” (Joshua 2:10)
Here’s what hit me like a ton of bricks. Joshua died. Israel lost its national leader. And once he and his contemporaries died, the next generation didn’t know the Lord or what He had done for Israel? Why??
BECAUSE THE FAMILIES DIDN’T TEACH THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT GOD as He instructed them to in Deuteronomy. Maybe they were too busy fighting the enemies around them (doing ministry). Maybe they were too tired from all the fighting (ministry). Maybe they thought they had earned a vacation. Maybe they just forgot. Maybe it was hard. Maybe it was a whole lot easier to see the results of the spoils of battle (how much I do) than the results in the heart. Maybe they left it to Joshua (the church).
Do you see the parallels? I do in my life! That’s why this hit me so hard. God has given me a clear call to disciple. My boys. So often I get the first part and miss the second. I run up and down every ladder of opportunity put in front of me and even try to create some in the name of discipleship, forgetting that my most captive audience – and the one I can influence most – sits right in front of me!
I know I don’t want my boys to be ignorant of the Lord and what He has done for our family! I’m not saying to ignore ministry or not be involved in church. I’m just saying that I often choose what’s good instead of what’s best (Philippians 1:9-10). I need to value the call God has given me and see it as a great work, regardless of any result I see (or don’t see, really!) regardless of the number of times we repeat lessons, regardless of what others think.
That’s my encouragement to myself. I hope maybe it will encourage you, too.
God, keep me focused on the work You have for me.
Help me see with Your eyes the eternal value of what I’m attempting to do daily as I homeschool my boys.
Help me see this as a great work, regardless of what others think
because You are the One who has given it.
Help me remember it is a great work, regardless of what other “more enticing” opportunities come up.
Keep doing your great work and DON’T COME DOWN! unless you have a clear call from God that your mission is complete. We’re up there together!
I love Jesus, family, friends, football, and helping people know the joy of studying God’s Word. Twenty years ago I married my best friend, Tim, and we have 3 boys – 2 middle schoolers and one 4th grader. We live in Wellington, FL, where it’s summer 360 days out of the year. (Don’t be too jealous!) We love serving at our church, and have been homeschooling for 9 years. I have a BS in both Bible and Elementary education and an MED in Special Education. Our family project website is http://www.leadinggodsgeneration.com I also blog at https://leadinggodsgeneration.wordpress.com/.