“And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.”
Years before these events, Zerubbabel led a host of people from captivity, to begin rebuilding the temple. His ministry was followed up by Ezra, who led the people to recommit themselves to the Lord. Then Nehemiah came with the intent of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem, for the security and safety of the people, and the work of God. Now that the temple stood and the walls were erected, people were needed to maintain the work of the Lord. This chapter gives us a list of those who gave themselves to the work, at great personal cost. For many choosing to be involved in the service of God meant giving up other ambitions, and even relocating into the city.
Ministry always costs. If we desire to be involved in furthering the work of Christ, it will mean we must invest time, energy, talents, and resources. When these investments are made into the kingdom of God, it means they are no longer available for other things.
The question we must answer is, “Are we willing to make personal sacrifices to further the work of God?” While I am sure that many of us revere those who willingly give themselves to the work of God, I wonder how we have let that affect us personally. We may love to hear the stories of missionaries who sacrifice so much for the cause of Christ, but have we allowed that to stir us, to make our own sacrifices?
Paul explained that we are living sacrifices and that it is reasonable for us to offer ourselves to the work of the Lord (Romans12:1). In what way will you give yourself to the furtherance of the kingdom this week?