But all came forward, heartily, willingly, cheerfully, to do the work of their Lord.
There is only one exception, only one blot on the page, only one dark spot on the register. The nobles of Tekoa, for 2000 years their names have stood, enrolled as the shirkers in God’s grand work.
Who then are to work for God? Every one of us, whoever we are, whatever is our occupation, whatever our place of residence, whatever our age, whatever our sex, the motto in God’s great workshop remains the same—’To every one his work,’ his own particular work, to be done by him, and by no one else.
Where then shall we work? Imitate Nehemiah’s builders; those living in the city built each the piece of wall before his own door, those living outside built the part of the wall facing their own village, whilst the priests built the piece nearest to the temple. Let us then, as God’s workers, begin at home, working from a centre outwards; our own heart first, surely there is plenty of work to do there; then our own family, our own household, our own street, our own congregation, our own city, our own country, letting the circle ever widen and widen, till it reacheth to the furthest corner of God’s great workshop, to the uttermost parts of the earth.
How then shall we work? Like Baruch, the son of Zabbai, hot with zeal, on fire with earnestness and energy. Baruch did not saunter round the walls to watch how the other builders were getting on; he stuck to his post. Baruch did not work well one day and lie in bed the next, he persevered steadily and patiently. Baruch did not work as if he were trying to make the job last as long as possible, idly pretending to work, but dreaming all the time, but he worked on bravely, earnestly, unceasingly, till the work was done. So let us work while it is called to-day, for the night cometh when no man can work.
It was no easy work those Jerusalem builders had. Outdoor work in the East is always hard and heavy; it is no light matter to stand for hours in the scorching sun without a particle of shade, toiling on at heavy and unaccustomed work. But the builders bravely endured, and were stedfast in the work, and they have their reward. Their names stand on God’s honour list, not even the most insignificant amongst them is omitted.
Workers for God, does the work seem hard? Are the difficulties great? Are you weary and faint as you keep at your post? Does the hot sun of temptation often tempt you to throw up the work? Think of Nehemiah’s builders. Hold on, cheer up, work well and bravely, remembering that the reward is sure. We read of certain people who lived at Philippi whose names were written in heaven. Who were these? (Phil. iv. 3.) St. Paul tells us; they were his fellow-labourers, the workers of God in that city.
No human hand, no hand of angel or archangel, enters the names on that register, for it is the Lamb’s book of life. None but the Lamb can open it, none but He can write in it, none but He will read its contents in the ears of the assembled universe.