Finishing the Task

Nehemiah 4:1-6:19

1) We must come together, (Nehemiah 4:1-4).

a. Everyone must volunteer, (Nehemiah 4:1), we plural … we all were doing our task.

b. Watch each other’s back, (Nehemiah 4:2b), mocked. Whenever you are working for the Lord you will be mocked. You will be questioned.

c. Never forget the reason we are working . . . it is for God. People can see God (Nehemiah 2). When I traveled for the Alabama Baptist Convention, one thing I noticed was that most people needed to see that dead stones can live.

2) We must work and have the will to keep working with the proper mindset, (Nehemiah 4:6).

Perseverance . . . The story of Roger Bannister is an inspirational one. For many years it was widely believed to be impossible for a human to run a mile, (1609 meters), in under four minutes. In fact, for many years, it was believed that the four minute mile was a physical barrier that no man could break without causing significant damage to the runner’s health. The achievement of a four minute mile seemed beyond human possibility, like climbing Mount Everest or walking on the moon.

It was a windy spring day, on the 6th of May 1954, “I tried to establish this now or never attitude because I knew that unless I was successful in attaining this attitude or mental stance, I would perhaps hurt my chance by letting myself fall prey to the mental reaction so common to athletes — that is, thinking that there would always be a next time or deciding, perhaps, that this is not the day, when things become difficult and muscles begin to ache from the strain . . . I ran with complete abandon and thought it must be NOW!” — Roger Bannister.

The stadium announcer for the race was Norris McWhirter, who went on to publish and edit the Guinness Book of Records. He famously “teased” the crowd by drawing out the announcement of the time Bannister ran as long as possible:[2] “Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event 9, the one-mile: 1st, No. 41, R.G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which – subject to ratification – will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire, and World Record. The time was 3…”

The roar of the crowd drowned out the rest of the announcement. Bannister’s time was 3 min 59.4 s.

Only 56 days later John Landry broke the 4 minute mile. Within 3 years 16 other runners had broken the 4 minute mile.

Much like when we are opening a jar. We struggle and struggle and then give it to someone else. I loosened it for you.

3) We must pray and station guards night and day, (Nehemiah 4:9).

It is not the length that matters, but the quality of the time we speak to God.

When the Gettysburg battleground became a national cemetery, Edward Everett was to give the dedication speech followed by President Lincoln. Everett spoke eloquently for 1 hour and 57 minutes then took his seat as the crowd roared its enthusiastic approval. Then Lincoln stood to his feet, slipped on his steel spectacles, and began what we know today as the Gettysburg Address. He spoke no more than 2 minutes and stopped and sank into his seat. Everyone was shocked. John Young of the Philadelphia Press whispered, “Is that all?” The President answered, “Yes, that is all.”

Don’t underestimate two minutes with God in prayer.

4) Remember your families, (Nehemiah 4:14).

5) Remember our God will fight for us (Nehemiah 4:20).

Rob Jackson
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