Do what you can for the kingdom!
Another reflection from my friend Davy Blackburn. You can read more of his work here. It’s a reflection on the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem described in the Old Testament from which we can draw lessons about our role as workers in the Kingdom of Heaven (John)
Nehemiah 3:14 The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place.
Rebuilding a city is no mean task. There must have been so many important tasks and sought after professions in the re-building. No doubt there would be many important people and some beautiful buildings. This verse tells us not of an important building but a gate. A dung gate at that! It would not have been the most pleasant of locations in the city and it was not a place you would want to dwell for long. However it was an important task. The gate needed to be strong as it was also part of a fortified garrison. Enemies could find a way in the weakest part of any city, and this gate was just as important to the defences as the main gates.
Some of us in our lives have what we think of as unimportant or menial jobs. Monotonous days doing the same thing over and over again. Yet no honest job is unimportant in the welfare of a nation. Someone has to carry out the least of all tasks. Imagine if no one swept the streets, or worked in sewers? The whole health of the nation would be at risk. Malkijah may have been a blacksmith to trade as we know it nowadays. He may have crafted far nicer items and attended some beautiful projects such as fences of great design. But he is not known for that, in fact this is the only mention in the bible of him.
In some ways this is a picture of our lives. For all the things we do in life and all out cares and worries, the only things that will last are the things we have done for God. The tasks in life God gives us to carry out for His glory and His kingdom are the most deserving of our attention. I wonder how many “important” men and woman were around during the years that the city was being rebuilt. How many of these important people knew anything of God? Did anything that would be remembered 100 years after their death, let alone 3000 years? And yet this man Malkijah , whoever he was, is remembered thousands of years later. Not for conquering new kingdoms, not for making some new breakthrough in medicine or technology; but for repairing a gate, a gate that was where God’s people would once more find refuge.
If you ever feel like your job is worthless, or the life you lead is unrewarding, ask yourself what God wants you to do today. Phone someone who needs encouragement, take a meal to someone you know is under some pressure or unable to provide for themselves. Be nice to a work colleague or play a game with your children. But whatever you do, do it as if you were serving God, because ultimately that is what it means to be a child of God.