I was reading in my one year Bible about the remnant rebuilding the wall after they returned to Jerusalem. Two very different prophets were called by God to oversee the construction of the wall and to help reestablish the nation. So much insight can be gleaned from this story, but I’m excited about what God made personal to me.
After reading Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s points-of-view, I felt God ask me, “Which one do you think you are?” I excitedly told God, “Nehemiah!” In my mind’s eye, I could see God turn His head toward me, raise His eyebrows and say, “Really?” I read back through the details from both prophets, and I knew I was more like Ezra.
When I was twenty-five years old, I taught college composition. This was the hardest step of obedience I had taken up to that point. For a solid year, I lived on the opposite side of my comfort zone. The emotional, spiritual and physical pressure I felt squashed my appetite, and I became the thinnest I’ve ever been in my adult life. Although I was a good teacher and the students learned a lot and enjoyed my class, I was on edge all of the time.
I didn’t like being in front of a class. I didn’t like everyone looking at me for direction and answers. I didn’t like having to talk, talk, talk all the time. I was definitely no Nehemiah. I would have preferred to sit among the students, read my books and lead by example. God knew this time would stretch me, so, thankfully, He didn’t ask me to teach college for long. He gave me a full year to rest before He put me through another stretching situation (my first baby).
The interesting thing is that if God were to ask me this question several years ago, I would have insisted on the wrong answer. I get so enamored by the action and risk of Nehemiah that I forget about the heart and strength of Ezra. Both these prophets were necessary to the completion of the wall. They both brought God’s vision to fruition by each doing his different, yet equal part.
I think the reason that many Christians feel jealous, angry or confused about what other Christians are achieving is because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. It is hard to know who we are in Christ if we don’t know who we are. I used to feel guilty about self-evaluation, like it was egocentric. But God reprimanded me. He said that I needed to have a healthy understanding of my design, my desires and my destiny. We all must find our wall (purpose), that grows His temple (church) and plant our house (life) in the middle of it.
When we find our niche in God’s Kingdom here on earth, we will find ourselves in Holy Ease. This doesn’t mean everything will be easy or smooth, but our passion should align with our purpose. Nehemiah and Ezra did a lot of work against all odds and showed great amounts of discipline, and they were able to achieve the impossible. Together they built the wall in 52 days and established God’s people on His truth. God divided His vision, and everyone did his/her part. How much could the church accomplish today if all Christians would discover their part and do it wholeheartedly?
Have you asked God to give you a healthy understanding of who you are in Him? If you saw some of your personality reflecting from a Bible character, would you recognize yourself? How do you think knowing your design will help you achieve your destiny?
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12.3-5 NIV).