Big Jobs – Nehemiah 1

PHOTO CAPTION: Setting up a lemonade stand is hard work!

We all encounter jobs that seem a little too big for us sometimes. Maybe it’s a new job that we are starting and we feel a little overwhelmed learning the ropes; maybe it’s something that we’ve been putting off doing around the house and the task keeps growing until it is bigger than we think we can handle or maybe it’s just that we’re having one of those days where we would rather be doing anything but what we are currently doing, no matter what the reason, BIG jobs can loom over us, sapping our energy and zest for life.

Often facing that BIG job is simply a matter of rolling up our sleeves and getting busy. Half the battle is just getting started. Hmmm – seems like I used to say that to my kids with their homework! But what about those jobs when we don’t know the outcome and we really don’t know what to do? What about those situations that literally are humanly impossible? What happens when God asks us to move mountains or at least it seems that way?

Nehemiah was faced with a situation like that. It came to his attention that the wall in Jerusalem was in disrepair and that the people there were struggling. He was deeply troubled by this news. He wanted to help and yet what could he, one man, do? He had several things against him. He didn’t live anywhere close to Jerusalem, repairing the wall would take resources and time that he didn’t have and he was a servant, albeit he was a well-respected servant of the king. Servants didn’t often get a lot of say about what they wanted to do. So what was he to do? How could he respond?

He could have simply prayed, “Lord send someone else to help because you know that I can’t!” He could have decided that the job was too BIG and that he just wasn’t the right person to help. He could have, but he didn’t. He spent days crying out to God, praying, interceding and asking for help. He confessed his sins and Israel’s sins. He asked for forgiveness and he asked that God would give him favor with the king. He didn’t give up.

I wonder how many BIG jobs I’ve given up on? How many times have I decided that the task is not for me without even taking the time to pray about it? Have I stopped short of moving a mountain or building a wall because I’ve given up? What about you? Yes, there are some things that feel overwhelming. Maybe like me, you feel too old, too inexperienced, too out of the loop to really make a difference, but that’s not God’s assessment. When God asks us to do something, the least we can do is to pray about it. Remember, God isn’t asking us to move the mountain or build the wall in our own strength. He’s asking us to be willing to go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do. He’s simply asking us to be the catalyst through which he can work.

Do you have a BIG job facing you? Get down on your knees and then roll up your sleeves! God is ready to move that mountain and build that wall. He’s only looking for that person who will say, “Yes!” to Him.

Father God,
I see so many jobs that need to be done for your kingdom and yes, I do at times get overwhelmed! The task is large. I am only one person and I’m well over 50, maybe I’m too old to do the job. Maybe I’m not relevant any more. Yet Lord, as you give me strength and purpose I will continue to do what you ask me to do. Show me the jobs you want me to do whether that job is as simple as picking up a piece of litter on the ground or as way out of my comfort zone such as writing that book or inviting someone from a completely different culture to church. Lord, give parents favor as they build “walls of protection” for their children. Give us all favor as we share the good news of who you are with our communities. Replace our fears with your love so that we may walk boldly. Teach me, teach us, Lord, to say, “Yes!” to the BIG jobs that you have placed before us one day, one minute at a time. Amen

* Whenever you can, let your child choose the job he/she is going to do.

* Break the job down into smaller pieces. “Pick up your Legos©, then I will help you make your bed.”

* Think of the obstacles and what you can do to overcome or get around them.

* Write down what the goal is in doing this BIG job – especially if it’s something that will take more than one day.

* Especially with young children, work together with them and praise them when they do a good job or actually with very young children, praise every attempt to be helpful.

* Track progress and celebrate!

* What Big or overwhelming jobs are you facing?

* Approach those jobs with prayer.

* Ask for help. If you, like Nehemiah, are afraid to ask for help, then ask God for opportunities and the courage to ask. Who knows, the person that you are asking may answer with a resounding, “Yes!’

* This is getting into next week’s story, but assess the situation and find out what is needed. Break the job down into smaller pieces.

SHARE A STORY: Nehemiah Prays – Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah lived in Susa and served the king there. He was far away from his home town, Jerusalem. One day some men from Jerusalem came to Susa. Nehemiah was happy to see them. He asked about the people who were still living in Jerusalem. He wanted to know how the people in his home town were doing.

The men said, “The people in Jerusalem are having lots and lots of problems because the city is broken down.”When Nehemiah heard this, he was very sad. He knew it would be a BIG job to fix the wall and without the wall, the people were in danger. He knew that the people would need help to fix the wall. He cried and prayed to God.

How could he help them when he lived so far away? He asked God to help him when he went to serve the king. He wanted to ask the king for help. He prayed that the king would be kind and give him what he asked for. Nehemiah prayed for a long time. He trusted God to help him know what to say and do.

When you have a BIG job to do, you can ask God to help you too. He will help you know what to say and do to help others. He will help you do the BIG jobs that come your way. He will give you the strength to do whatever He asks you to do.

MEMORIZE: Col. 3:23 NIrV (Hold hands though holding a book.)
Work at – (Pound fists together.)
Everything you do –   (Fan hands out to the sides.)
With all your heart –  (Place hands on heart.)

Dear God,
Thank you for making me so that I can do good things and help others. When I have a BIG job to do, help me to do it with all my heart just like as if I was helping you, God. Instead of complaining or feeling scared when I have a BIG job to do, help me to remember that you will help me. Amen

KNOW: Nehemiah prayed when he had a big job to do.
TALK ABOUT: Praying and helping.
ASK: Who made you? God made me for a reason.
AND DO: I can ask God to help me when I have a big job to do.

* Find little jobs your preschooler can help with around the house.

* If your child is struggling to learn something new, pray together asking God to help him/her with the task.* How can we help others? Ask God to show you how you can help someone and then help them together.


Author: faithstepsandmore

I am a mom of three, grandmother of eight and have worked with young children for over thirty years. I currently write curriculum, speak for women's groups, do chapel for a daycare center and help with teacher/volunteer training at churches. I love what I do. There is nothing better than helping kids take those first steps of faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine.

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