I Would Have Never Chosen Me

Nehemiah 1:11, “Now I was the cupbearer to the king. And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king.”

I just don’t get it. If it had been me, I would have never chosen Nehemiah. Certainly not for a task as important as rebuilding the walls of God’s city. Something so grand, something so important would have demanded an exceptional person. After all, it was the glory of God that was ultimately at stake in this endeavour. The entire world is watching. The entire world is waiting. And whom does God choose? Nehemiah?

Can you imagine the guy’s resume? Prior job experience? Cupbearer. The man drank wine for a living. His duties included making certain that the wine was not poisoned and that he didn’t spill anything on the king’s new robe as he approached the throne. His background? An exiled member of a vanquished nation. In essence he was a part of the problem. It was their sin that had brought about the situation in the first place. It would be like hiring bank robbers to serve as night security at the local credit union. References? A pagan king. Granted, any reference from a king is generally a good thing but Atraxerxes is no David. It wasn’t like he and Nehemiah were starting each day with Bible study and prayer.

Yeah, gotta stick with my first impulse. I’m not choosing Nehemiah. I’m sure he was a good guy but there had to have been a better qualified and more capable candidate somewhere in the kingdom.

Or was there? As I reflect on those four months that Nehemiah spent in fasting and prayer I find myself becoming slowly warmed to this unlikely choice. How hard it must have been for him after receiving the news from Hanani about those living in Jerusalem. He was still serving as the king’s cupbearer but his heart is now broken for the people in Jerusalem. It’s difficult when your burden doesn’t fit your present surroundings. You wake up every morning but your heart and your thoughts are somewhere else. You serve in one location but your longing is for another. So what do you do?

Hopefully, we can all learn from Nehemiah. Be much in prayer. Be faithful to your present responsibilities. Be patient. And, finally, be prepared. Doors of divine opportunity surround us every day. We get so lost looking for the “BIG” thing that we fail to recognize the important things. All around us are people whose lives are in ruins. Sin has brought them to a place of utter brokenness. God is longing to use people just like us to help rebuild their lives into a place where His glory can reside.

Yeah, I would have never chosen Nehemiah. But, if I were to be totally honest, I would have never chosen me either. And yet, God chose us both. The exciting thing is that He has chosen you as well. In spite of our limitations, in spite of our background, in spite of our sin… God chose us. Chose us because He loves us. Chose us because He desires to have a relationship with us. Chose us because He longs to use us as His hands to rebuild broken lives. It’s time I stopped whining and started rejoicing. Yeah, I’m not perfect. Far from it. But I am chosen by God. And for me…that’s enough.