Do-er’s and Stoppers

You can find them in nearly any group of people, including every church:

The ones who go and do.

And the ones who are determined to stop them.

Nehemiah was a get-‘er-done-er. Unlike his contemporary Ezra (whose name does not appear in his work for the first 6 chapters, and who was sent by a foreign king to rebuild Jerusalem’s temple), Nehemiah takes the initiative – at some personal risk – to go and rebuild the walls. As nearly as we can tell, God doesn’t tell him to do it; doesn’t set up a king through prophecy to order him to it; doesn’t even “put it on his heart.” It is Nehemiah’s idea when he hears of how badly the wall has fallen into disrepair.

So he begins in prayer, takes action in faith, and goes to get-‘er-done.

By chapter 2 of the book bearing his name, he has run into the cease-and-desisters: Sanballat, Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem, three ambitious stoppers. The rest of the book they ridicule, plot, scheme, and try to distract him by offering to “help” so they can further sabotage his ministry:

I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” – Nehemiah 2:20

I love that answer. “Buzz off,” Nehemiah tells them. “It ain’t your hive.”

He didn’t quote it, but he had scripture to back him up. (See Deuteronomy 23:3.) It was the same message that the priests and leaders with whom Ezra served gave to the enemies of Israel:

But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.” – Ezra 4:3

I maintain that it’s a scriptural answer for the busy to give to busybodies:

“Buzz off. It ain’t your hive.”

New Testament scripture?

Sure; I’ve got one:

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.

Jesus puts a gentle backspin on the answer. “You’ve got your ministry, John,” He says. “They’ve got theirs. Stick to yours. Leave theirs alone. It’s not a competition. Even the lowliest ministry has its place in My service.”

His teaching is clear. It’s not to go into all the world and stop every ministry you don’t agree with, or are jealous of, or that you’re convinced is too innovative and/or successful to be scripturally authorized.

It’s to go into all the world and tell His Story.

Find the way God has gifted you to do it best. Pray. Act in faith. Go do it. Become busy with it. Get-‘er-done.

And quit pestering the folks doing it the way He has gifted them.

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7 thoughts on “Do-er’s and Stoppers

  1. Good lesson drawn from that text, again something I probably never would’ve thought of. Keith, was this part of your summary of Nehemiah from your class a few weeks ago??? 😉

  2. If I had had time, it might have been!(Actually, the part about Nehemiah’s answer occurred to me during the class period when someone else was teaching and I just sort of blurted it out then.)

  3. Keith,I hope and pray the Church elders, leaders, will allow those who are gifted to do their ministries. I believe their are a lot stoppers that are in leadership positions that stop Christians from doing the ministries and gifts in which God has called them to do because of fear (monentary, what will people think of my leadership, or faith, what will happen to the church if… instead of just trusting God).

  4. Thanks for the post. I wish it were as noble as Preacherman makes it seems, but I think most of the stoppers are stopping it because they feel the ego urging them to “do the right thing” and stop what they see as not the right thing. We Christians can become very egotistical in how we go about our lives. If something is not done exactly to our specifications (what we believe are the specifications of God but we have put our spin on it) we believe it is our God given right to change it. I am for letting God take care of His business and allowing others to work as they believe God has gifted them. If it is wrong, God will take care of it. He does not need me to fix it for him. Thanks for the reminder that I don’t have to be God’s fixer. He can do it all by himself. I just need to be interested in doing what God has gifted to me.

  5. Keith, I love the spirit of this post. And, as someone who frequently isn’t much of a goer and doer, this gives me some motivation. I need to be someone who doesn’t just hear the Word. I should do it too. That way, I won’t be like one of those trembling-but-damned demons that James talks about.Keep in mind that the dates in Ezra-Nehemiah indicate that there were not two returns, but three. The date for Ezra’s return (about 458 B.C.; see Ez. 7:7) is much later than the completion of the Second Temple (about 516 B.C.; see Ez. 6:15). In other words, by the time Ezra gets to Jerusalem, the Second Temple has been standing for about 58 years. Ezra, a priest and scribe, is responsible for the religious-cultural resurrection of the Jews in Judea, but not for the more-literal kind of building.

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