Nehemiah 2:20 – “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build…”
In life, there are few extraordinary days. Most days are ordinary – we brush our teeth, eat our meals, finish our tasks, wash our dishes, take out our trash, and get some sleep. Occasionally, something extraordinary happens – a miracle, revelation, or angel makes an unexpected appearance. The Bible reports a lot of extraordinary days. The Bible also reports a lot of ordinary days. In reading the Bible, many if not most people skip the ordinary days and stop to focus on the extraordinary days.
The first two chapters of Nehemiah were extraordinary days – Nehemiah was deeply burdened by God, given fresh vision to rebuild Jerusalem so that God’s people could live safely and worship freely, along with a detailed plan that was miraculously granted by the king after months of fasting and praying. Chapter three reports the normal days – regular people doing regular tasks like most people on most days. Nehemiah has moved from Susa to Jerusalem and, with the plan completed, the long days of hard work commence.
After the ordinary days of hard work – digging holes, shoveling dirt, hauling, and stacking stones – there will be more extraordinary days that include a revival among God’s people in response to Spirit-filled Bible teaching and worship leading. In the middle of the extraordinary days are the ordinary days. This is the cycle of ministry – someone has to vacuum the church, change the air filters, take out the trash, restock the toilet paper, pay the electric bill, replace the dead light bulbs, and unlock the front door – so that people can come in to meet with God and have an extraordinary day. Most of what is celebrated in ministry are the extraordinary days, and what makes those days possible are the ordinary days where humble, faithful, hardworking servants of God get practical things done. This is the heart of Nehemiah 3, and God’s way of honoring faithful servants by naming the leaders and their teams in His Word to commemorate their ordinary ministry forever.
What are some of the ordinary days in your life that set up and allowed the extraordinary days that followed (e.g. working hard to save money so that you could give generously or have a child)?