Nehemiah had a big job. He was planning to rebuild the wall that surrounded the city of Jerusalem. He overcomes the obstacle of opposition to get the job done. Nehemiah deals with two kinds of opposition. First, his enemies in chapter 6 send him letters and request a meeting, but he knows they intend to entrap him and distract him. I find this kind of opposition to be prominent nowadays. There is always some distraction. Distractions are nothing more than a form of opposition to the work of God.
Also in chapter 6 you see that Nehemiah’s enemies spread rumours about him. The rumour, circulated through means of an open letter, insinuate that the Jews only intend to build a fortified city so that they might rebel. This is plainly false, but that does not matter to Nehemiah’s enemies. Untrue rumours are also a form of opposition. Rumours discourage people and cause them to get off track. Don’t allow the opposition of untrue rumour or the opposition of distraction keep you from doing what God wants you to do.
Nehemiah perseveres however, and he finishes the wall (Neh.6:15). With the task complete, Nehemiah sets out to leave some people in charge of the city, to guard it and to watch over it, in case it comes under attack. Who does Nehemiah choose? Well, in Neh.7:1 we learn that two men are chosen. One is Hannani, the other Hannaniah, the ruler of the palace. Why were these men chosen and not the other men who were there in Jerusalem? Well, one of them had connection to Nehemiah – in fact it was his bother. We are also told that the other man was well connected politically, perhaps having some influence in the palace. But these are not the reasons the men were chosen. They were faithful and they feared God (that’s what 7:2 says) they were. Sometimes it would be good to look at both of these phrases, but tonight I want to not only one – they were faithful. These are the kind of people Nehemiah wanted. Why? Because faithful men are men you can count on. Men that do not leave when things are tough. Men who don’t get disinterested when things get boring. Men who do not get distracted by other possibilities. Faithful men and faithful women stick with it. They see a job through to completion. They can be counted on.
That’s why one of the requirements of stewards is that they be found faithful. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul says that stewards have this call to faithfulness. The word steward is not a word we use much nowadays except to refer to someone who serves you drinks on an airplane. But the word steward is one that means manager or administrator. You see, you and I have been given a task by God. We have a gospel to share, we have a priceless treasure in an earthen vessel (2 Cor.4:7), so that we will go and share the good news of Christ with others. This management responsibility is governed by one particular need. You must be found faithful. In fact, faithfulness is a requirement for those who are managers called of God. Every Christian has a job to do – but it will only be the faithful ones who get it done. After all, aren’t these words the words the very words which we long to hear one day from Jesus (Matt.25:21)?
Faithfulness is not something that you wake up one day and discover you have. It is not something that magically appears. It is not necessarily a trait that is passed down through the genes. Faithfulness is developed daily. Essentially faithfulness is prolonged obedience. It is a daily decision to follow God and do what he says. I daily die to sin, I daily die to self. I make a decision each day to do what God tells me to do. Too many believers try to be faithful with a onetime decision that has some lifelong impact. I don’t believe faithfulness works that way. Each day I determine to walk by faith. Each day I recognize my need for God and dependence on him. Each day I commit to doing what he has asked. I don’t try to achieve life long faithfulness with a single decision. I just get up in the morning, look to God for strength for the day (Matt.6:25), and then I proceed in obedience throughout my day. Faithfulness is a lifetime of daily obedience’s.