Governor Nehemiah models for us how we need to respond to a number of things that clamor for our attention. In Nehemiah 6, the continual enemies of the governor’s work in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, Tobiah, Sanballat, et al, issued Nehemiah an invitation to come and meet with them. His response is classic — and instructive to us:
In verse 3 Nehemiah responds: “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?”
The invitation they offered Nehemiah was not given in good faith, and he knew it. In verse 2 he said, “But they were planning to harm me.” So he basically told them that he had more important things to do: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”
Many of us need to model Nehemiah’s response, in a number of scenarios. There are some people who, like Tobiah and Sanballat, call for our presence, but actually they do not have our best interests at heart. Others may not be sinister, but the fact is that leaving what we are doing may not be the best decision. Just because someone wants our time does not mean that we should give it.
But it is not just individual people to whom we should sometimes give Nehemiah’s response. Numerous things clamor for our attention all through the day: television, social media, and all kinds of other distractions. We live in an age in which we are bombarded with these things like never before. It is literally possible to move from one attention-getter to another, without end. God’s people in the days in which we live need to learn to give these distractions the same answer that Nehemiah gave his: “Why should (my) work stop while I leave it and come down to (Facebook/Twitter/insert any relevant personal distraction!)?”
Perhaps Nehemiah 6:3 should be your next memory verse? Many of us would do well to learn it — and use it — all through the day: “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?”