Nehemiah 4:16-23New International Version (NIV)
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
After learning the plot of the people who didn’t want Israel to succeed in what they were doing, Nehemiah carefully employed several strategies to ensure that God’s work would continue. In this passage, Nehemiah devised five strategies (vv16 , 18, 20, 22) which he and Israel observed until they have completed the walls, and have rebuilt the temple.
Strategy, originally a military term, simply means a plan of action. Without it, we are bound to perform poorly, and worse fail in accomplishing our mission. If Nehemiah did not employ a strategy in building the walls of Jerusalem, the probability of success would be very slim. This tells us that we cannot discount the importance of strategy in any project or endeavor, war or game, even life actually. Strategy helps us do our work effectively (do the right things) and efficiently (do things right).
How does this work in the modern days? In the Christian community, many tend to over spiritualize things including our approach to life. Let me propose that the Kingdom of God is not only about grace or the moving of the Holy Spirit. It is also about how we carefully and efficiently handle the work God has entrusted to us. The Kingdom of God is not only concerned about spiritual, but also about the physical and practical aspects of life here on earth. While there is a spiritual reality for us, there is also a material world where we are living in. By saying this, please do not perceive me espousing a dual approach to life – that there is sacred and secular. I am a firm believer of spirituality integrated into every aspect or area of our lives. I am just emphasizing that the battle of life must be approached with strategies in hand.
One strategy could be a simple time management. Life is too busy and if we are waiting for the time that we can spend with the Lord or our family, it will never happen. I have tried it and I ended up busier than before. We really can’t have the time if we will wait for it. We should strategize and make the time.
Another strategy is to lower our expectations about people around us, better yet totally do away with it. If not we will just frustrate ourselves and in the end, we will find ourselves separated from them. The truth is they have no reason to deliver our expectations because they did not set it in the first place.
Like Nehemiah, we will surely accomplish great things for the Lord if we will entrust everything to Him, and act on it with a couple of strategies under our sleeves. Let’s start to live a life worth living…live a life of strategy.