The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. 7 Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah—Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth—places under the authority of the governor of Trans-Euphrates. 8 Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9 Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section. 10 Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him. 11 Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12 Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters.
Nehemiah 3:6-12 NIV Bible Gateway
When I read Nehemiah Chapter 3 in the past, I would quickly glance through the names of the people and their tasks, just so I could close this chapter and jump over to the next. I mean what could I really get out of a group of people when I could barely say their names? But today, as I took time to read through the scripture, and paid attention to who those people were, and what they were doing, I was touched.
Nehemiah Chapter 3 is all about work – rebuilding and restoring the wall of Jerusalem, and how each individual took different sections of the job and worked together under the leadership of Nehemiah. This verse dawned on me today — “Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.” (Nehemiah 3:8) These people were doing a builder’s job, but none of them were professional builders! A goldsmith might have some soldering, sawing, and crafting skills that can somewhat be utilized in repairing the gates and the wall, if there were some metal works involved. But what related skillsets could Hananiah, the perfume maker, offer to the rebuilding of the wall? When Nehemiah proposed this rebuilding project, Hananiah could have been easily excused from the call of duty for not having the required training. Yet, he chose to answer the call and rolled up his sleeves to take part in “this good work” (Nehemiah 2:18). There was no mention of how Hananiah managed to get his section of the wall done, but we can imagine it wasn’t anything like making perfume to him. There was no mention of how many times he failed, but we can imagine his prayer to God asking for help and guidance. Hananiah was not the only non-professional builders that pitched in, among them were the priests, helpers of the priests, leaders of half districts, and the daughters of Hallohesh (go girls! 💪). Each of them could have their inexperienced rebuilding stories to tell!
“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” (2 Cor. 8:12) What the inexperienced builders had was the desire to see God’s work being done, and that gift was well received by God. God’s “gracious hand” (Nehemiah 2:18) was with them, and their work was accomplished. They fortified Jerusalem and got their names recorded in the Bible.
There are no professional Christians. In fact, we were all sinners saved by Christ and covered by His grace! We had zero experience of building God’s kingdom. We are learning every day how to be His followers and do what He had commanded us to do with the Holy Spirit being our guide. Just like rebuilding the wall, life changing and accomplishing God’s will do not happen over night. A lot of times we will encounter trials and temptations that are greater than our own abilities, and we may feel inadequate. But God knows our hearts. If we have that passion and drive to see God’s work being done, and we continue to seek Him and draw near to Him, He will help us to accomplish far more than we can imagine. We are all builders of the wall, and we are all in “this good work” together. God accepts our gift of willingness and blesses it with His gracious hand. He is the expert of that, and He is always enough!
Dear Lord, guard my heart with the right motive and desire. My abilities are limited, and at times I feel inadequate, but You are the limitless God. Accept the gift of my willingness and guide me with your gracious hand. Help me to experience the accomplishment of your great work in my life.