The Sword and the Trowel
Nehemiah 4:17-18
They which built on the wall, and they that bore burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands worked in the work…

The stirring incident suggests lessons to the workers in God's cause to-day.

I. THE CHURCH OF GOD HAS STILL A GREAT WORK TO DO FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD. The walls of many a Jerusalem are down and need building up. Injustice, oppression, and wrong are found in many places.

II. HOW IS THE CHURCH TO ACCOMPLISH ALL THIS WORK? Consider the people named in the text.

1. They had a wise and skilful leader. It is said that Alexander the Great was strolling among the tents of his soldiers on the eve of some great battle. Hearing some of his men engaged in conversation in one of the tents, he stopped to listen. The men were losing courage and heart, and said so. As they deplored their insufficiency for the task of the morrow, he slipped up to the door of the tent, and swinging back the canvas, said, "Remember that Alexander is with you." Nehemiah told the people of a greater than Alexander. In all aggressive movements there must be aggressive leaders.

2. All the people were willing to help. The danger in these days is to leave the work to a few, to recognised leaders and officers. This is always foolish; in the Church of God it is fatal.

3. Each one had a work and did it. God has a piece of work for each one of us to do. Some have to stand in the front; others have to stand in the rear. Some work in the blaze of day, and others work out of sight. I sometimes admire the bridges which cross the Thames. As I have sailed under them, I have thought about the divers who had to work below the surface of the water to lay the foundation of some of the strong work which carries the weight of the whole. The work these divers did out of sight was all-important. If they had done it badly the whole would have suffered in consequence. It may be so with our work.

4. They did the work in dependence upon God. They did their secular work in a religious spirit.

(C. Leach, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.

WEB: They all built the wall and those who bore burdens loaded themselves; everyone with one of his hands worked in the work, and with the other held his weapon;

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