Have you ever had a task before you that seemed overwhelming? I know I have. Right now that task is my office. It seems so big that I just want to ignore it and hope it will go away or magically organize itself, yet I know that won’t happen. If I want it to be more organized, then I need to do something about it. I need to get my hands and feet involved and start working at it. Dreaming and wishing of a clean, organized, functional space will not make it happen!
Have you ever felt like God gave you a job that was too big for you or that downright scares you? Down deep you see the need and it resonates with your heart. You want to step in and do something yet what do you do and how do you do it? What if you can’t do it? What if the job is too BIG for you?
Nehemiah was faced with a job that seemed impossible. First of all, he didn’t even live in Jerusalem any more. He was serving the king. It was quite possible the king would say that Nehemiah couldn’t go to Jerusalem. Yet Nehemiah prayed. He prayed a lot before approaching the king. When he did, the king said, “Yes!” He allowed Nehemiah to go and even furnished him with the things that he needed to build the wall.
But Nehemiah’s challenges didn’t stop there. He also faced the challenge of getting others involved in his building project once he got to Jerusalem. The job was too big for him to do on his own for sure, but with all the people uniting and with God’s help, they could do it. Once again, God was with him. But there was still another hurdle to overcome! Nehemiah faced opposition.
Yes, when God gives you a task to do, often there will be opposition. Some people just won’t like it! Nehemiah didn’t let that stop him either. He encouraged the people, made sure they were armed, set up guards and Nehemiah and the people kept on building. They didn’t let anything stop them because they knew God was with them.
When the walls were finished, Nehemiah and the people celebrated and thanked God for His help. They didn’t forget where their success came from, but stopped to honor God for all that He had done for them.
Let’s learn from Nehemiah. When you and I are faced with a job that seems too BIG, say, “Yes!” to God. Step out in faith, with lots of prayer of course, and start building, organizing, leading, teaching or whatever it is that God is asking you to do. You can be sure that He will help you, because God never gives us a task without providing the help and strength that we need to see it through. And when you do step in to lead that group of fourth grade boys, chauffeur your sick friend back and forth to appointments, volunteer at a soup kitchen, lead a Bible study or whatever it is that God is asking you to do; remember to give God thanks for all that He does. He will see the task to completion. He will give you strength and He will do amazing things because that’s who He is. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for your amazing help!
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I have some tasks that are looming large right now and I need your help. I need your guidance and direction. I wonder, “Is this really the direction you are leading me or am I only motivated by my own desires?” I so want to use the talents and abilities you have given me and I also want to love and serve others . Can I do both God? Show me what your plan is. Prepare the way for me. Currently I am trying to launch a book and yet the task seem daunting. If this is truly what you have for me then provide the finances and the resources that I need to finish the job. Lord, I think of our kids too. Give our kids BIG dreams and give them the perseverance to keep trying and pursuing their dreams. When they face opposition, because they will, teach our kids not to give up, but rather to look up – to look up to you with prayer and thanksgiving. Thank you God, for your help. You have done great things! Each time I have asked, you have answered. Sometimes those answers have seemed long in coming, yet you have been there through it all. I have so much to be thankful for. Show me ways to show my gratitude this week to you and to those people you have placed in my path to help me. Amen
- I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, use courtesy. Gratitude starts with “please” and “thank you”.
- Be an example and thank your kids when they help.
- Do something as a family to help someone else. Kindness spreads and when we are helping others, it promotes gratitude for what we do have to share. It’s hard to worry when we are busy helping others.
- Gratitude has health benefits.
– Boosts the immune system.
– Lowers stress.
– Improves mental health.
– Some studies have shown that gratitude may even help reduce the risk of heart disease. Amazing!
- Start a gratitude journal – list 3-5 things each day that you are thankful for.
- Pray – Start your prayers by giving thanks.
- Get your kids involved and have a gratitude jar. When something happens that you are thankful for, write it down and place it in the jar to read later. Preschoolers can draw pictures. (A “Look-What-God-Has -Done” jar would be fun too.)
- Write a thank-you note to someone who has done something for you. Your preschoolers can include a picture they have drawn or colored.
STORY: Nehemiah & The People Are Thankful – Nehemiah 6-8
Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer. When he heard that the walls were broken down in Jerusalem where he used to live, he wanted to go help, but he knew it would be a big job. He asked the king for help and because God was with Nehemiah, the king said yes.
When he got to Jerusalem, he asked the people there for help. He knew it was a BIG job and that they would have to work together. Pound, pound, pound! Zzt, Zzt, Zzt! (Pretend to hammer and saw.) Nehemiah and the people worked hard to rebuild the walls. Some men didn’t like what Nehemiah was doing. They tried to stop him. Did Nehemiah stop? No, Nehemiah knew God would help him. He said, “I will not stop. I am doing important work!” The men tried to make Nehemiah and the people afraid. (Show scared face.) Nehemiah prayed, “God, make me strong.” (Fold hands as though praying.) And he kept on working. (Pretend to pound again.) He didn’t let anything stop him!
Finally the walls were finished! Nehemiah and all the people knew that they were able to finish the job because God was with them. They knew God helped them. Even the men who tried to scare Nehemiah knew that God had helped him. God made Nehemiah and the people strong. (Show muscles.) God kept them safe so they could build the walls.
When the walls were finished, all the people gathered together to listen (Put hand by ear.) as Ezra read God’s law (Show Bible.) The people listened carefully. They worshipped God and celebrated this special day. They were thankful to God for all He had done for them. God helped them finish the BIG job (Spread arms out to show big.) of building the walls.
As you learn new things and do jobs at home, at church or anywhere; God will help you, just like He helped Nehemiah and all the people build the wall. He can make you strong and show you what to do. He will help you do your very best. When you finish a BIG job or learn something new, remember to stop and thank God for His help.
Thank you for making me and loving me. I know that you have Big things for me to do too. Whatever I do, help me to do my best. Thank you for helping me too. Amen
MEMORIZE: 1 Chron. 16:34 ERV – (Hands open as if holding a book.)
Give thanks – (Touch lips with fingertips and bring down to meet other hand.)
To the Lord – (Point upwards.)
For He is good. – (Rub tummy.)
VERSE SONG: (To the tune of “Frere Jaque”)
Give thanks, give thanks,
To the Lord, to the Lord,
For He is good, for He is good,
KNOW: God hears my prayers. God can do anything. He will help me.
TALK ABOUT: Thanking God for His help.
ASK: Who will help you? God will help me.
AND DO: Thank God for His help.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Give your child simple jobs that he/she can do. With young children, this probably means that you will be working with them.
- Ask God to help you and your child do your best. Thank God for helping your child learn and grow.