Finishing Well

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 6:1-16

TO CHEW ON: "So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God." Nehemiah 6:15,16

The wall was nearly done. There were no more broken gaps and only the gates were missing. But instead of the opposition getting less, it got worse. One day Nehemiah got another message from Sanballat and Geshem. “Come to a meeting in a nearby village,” it said.

Nehemiah smelled trouble. He was sure these men were planning to harm him. He sent back word, “I’m busy on a big project.”

They didn’t give up easily. Three more times they called him to a meeting. Finally on the fifth try, the messenger showed Nehemiah another letter from Sanballat. It said, “We know that you and the Jews are plotting a revolution. You’re planning to become king. If you don’t want this reported back to Artaxerxes, you’d better meet with us.”

Still Nehemiah refused to be distracted. “These are all lies,” he wrote back. “You’re making this up out of your head.”

But now even some people inside the city tried to get him away from the job. “Rebuilding the wall isn’t what God wants,” said some of the prophets.

Another man said,“You should go into the temple and hide from the people who are trying to kill you.”

Through all this Nehemiah stayed on the job. When things looked bad, he prayed and kept right on working. It took fifty-two days in all to finish rebuilding the wall. When the nations around saw that Jerusalem was again behind a wall, and that the wall had come up in such a short time, they were frightened. For they knew this could have happened only with God’s help.

We can learn a lot about finishing well from Nehemiah. He planned the work and then didn’t let himself get pulled away from the job by teasing, threats, discouragement or danger. Instead, he prayed about these problems and then kept right on working.

Next time you’re in the middle of a big project and feel like quitting, remember Nehemiah. Say a prayer to God for help, and then keep working till the job is done.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to finish projects well. Amen.

MORE: Working on Projects
When projects are big and take a long time, it’s easy to feel like giving up before they’re done. Here are some hints about tackling projects. Try them on your next one whether it’s making a science fair exhibit, sewing an outfit or whatever.

1. Beginning
a] Get your idea.
b] Gather your materials.
c] Decide on the order or steps of the project.
d] Start on step one.

2. Middle
a] Divide the project steps into small tasks
b] Do a little bit of your project every day.
c] Take a break when you get tired.
d] Pray when there is opposition or you get discouraged

3. End
a] Complete everything, even to the last detail.
b] Clean up after you’re done
c] Celebrate!

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