Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Great Work

Almost 10 years ago I heard a sermon that has stuck with me through various seasons--and served as a reminder countless times about keeping 'the main thing the main thing.'

The Scripture at the center of the sermon was Nehemiah 6. Committed to rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem (a cause/purpose God had led him to), Nehemiah rejected those who showed up with invitations and distracting opportunities for him. One of the chief opponents of Nehemiah's work, Sanballat, sent messengers inviting Nehemiah to a distinguished meeting. His response is recorded in Nehemiah 6:3:

So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" Nehemiah 6:3 (NAS)

Every knock on our door, every invitation to serve, every phone call asking for our participation, needs to be prayerfully considered. Just because you receive a call, it doesn't necessarily mean it is from God.

I hope I am not being misunderstood. I am a huge advocate of ministry and service. I think God has uniquely gifted each person--that there is work He has prepared in advance for us to do. I would even go so far as to say, as a Mom, we should be modeling ministry/community service to our children. I think our flesh, our pride, our guilt, our desire to please, etc. can all contribute to our lack of focus on identifying the main things He has called us to in a particular season.

I am learning this the hard way. 

We would all do well to remember the steadfast and courageous words of Nehemiah. "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down." (I recently put it on an index card that I attached to the front of my calendar.)

God has been faithful to impress upon me the areas of ministry for which He has equipped me and given me a passion. For me, in this season, my great work is my marriage, my children, writing and relational ministry in a couple of key places. I am (re)learning that this means saying no to countless other things--many of them good things. 

There will undoubtedly be other seasons with other great works...but right now this is it. 

"I am doing a great work and I cannot come down."


alisonmomof3 said...

Thanks for this post. I really needed it today. I am going right now to make my own index card!!

k and c's mom said...

I think the key to this is that you know the areas God has impressed you to serve in, and you keep that boundary in place. So many people stay too busy to even seek God's heart on where He wants them serving. This encourages me to "weed" through my areas of service yet again.

Joni said...

This is one of my favorite sermons by Andy Stanley. John and I say that Scripture to each other often.

Especially when laundry beckons...."I am doing a great work and cannot come down" is my response sometimes to the growing mounds. : )


C R said...

I really enjoy reading your posts. I can always identify with what you are saying.

Tara said...

I really think this is a message all mothers need to see! If we continually are lead to other works (whether they are good or not is beside the point) other than what we are focused on doing, it is to our detriment. And it really gives us guilt that we need not carry around. Thanks for sharing this!

Todd and Randi said...

Just re-heard this the other day in "Guardrails." I cannot be reminded enough. Good stuff!

Misty said...

i love this post. i got it from a friend (who had a friend send it to her) b/cs we were just talking the ohter day about that tension b/twn heart desires, God desires, and world desires, and the struggle for being fully present in the now. i think the mentality of being IN the good work now and letting the others wait is a powerful testimony if we let it be. it's a way of saying, GOD, we trust you. we trust you to be bigger than us and to know our future.

also, i have read thru your entire sidebar story: from meeting dh to the triplets being born to your diagnosis. it is a captivating story, full of promise and redemption and God's Plan. love it. i'm a 30 yr old triplet myself--we really do grow up and turn out ok!! :)