“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” Nehemiah 2:17-18
Jerusalem had been destroyed, the people sent into exile. Many years later, the Jewish people were able to begin to return to their homeland. They slowly began to rebuild. However, by the time of Nehemiah, there still wasn’t everything rebuilt. The walls to the city still laid in ruin. Nehemiah felt called by God to leave his job as the king’s cupbearer for a time and to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.
Nehemiah speaks to the people in Jerusalem, those that had returned to the homeland. He rallies them to the cause of rebuilding the walls. It would be tough work. But God was with them.
There are times in our life when we need to rebuild. In those times, we need to turn to God to provide the strength, the ability, the means in order to rebuild. This week, let us be like the Israelites in saying “Let us rise up and build” and strengthen our hands for the good work we have been called to do.
This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from a beloved cartoon character from my childhood. Yes, Scrooge McDuck aka Uncle Scrooge from Ducktales. Here’s the quote:
“Work smarter, not harder.” (Uncle Scrooge Ducktales)
We all have opportunities to build bridges or to build walls. I don’t necessarily mean literally building bridges or building walls though they do make good metaphors. The relationships we have with those around us are to be cultivated. It isn’t something that one just has. It takes work and effort to develop and maintain friendships and relationships.
It is hard work to build bridges. It takes a lot of effort and dilligence to lay brick by brick the foundation for building bridges. And the thing with friendships and relationships is that it can’t be a one way street. It has to work both ways. Unfortunately, sometimes the other person may build a wall up instead of build a bridge. They may hurt you with their words and actions. This in turn will may you want to build a wall instead of a bridge not just to the one who built a wall up to you but to those who are building bridges as well.
I know I’ve built my fair share of bridges and I’ve built my fair share of walls. It’s hard to build bridges and it’s hard to maintain bridges, especially when people build up walls. It’s very hard to tear down walls and build a bridge instead. But that’s where Jesus comes into the picture. He gives us the strength to build those bridges and He can tear down the walls that we build up. We may think those walls protect us but in reality they just shut us out from everything and do more damage to ourselves and others than good.
The older I get, the more I understand this. We all have bricks and we all have a choice. We can either use those bricks to build bridges or build walls. I can’t control how others will use their bricks. But I can control what I do with mine. And even if someone builds a wall to me, that doesn’t mean I should turn around and build a wall as well. I need to keep building bridges.
I want to show Christ’s love and build bridges instead of walls and I hope that you will do the same too.