January 22, 2023<
Finding Strength In Simplification
Nehemiah - “Then Eliashib the high priest and the other priests started to rebuild at the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set up its doors, building the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and the Tower of Hananel. People from the town of Jericho worked next to them, and beyond them was Zaccur son of Imri. The Fish Gate was built by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid the beams, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars. Meremoth, son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz repaired the next section of wall. Beside him were Meshullam son of Berekiah and grandson of Meshezabel, and then Zadok son of Baana. Next were the people from Tekoa, though their leaders refused to work with the construction supervisors.” (Nehemiah 3:1-5)
Every Christmas, many young children receive blocks as gifts. Blocks help children learn the letters of the alphabet and help them learn balancing skills. Blocks are also a good investment for parents because they are almost unbreakable. Ironically, toys that are more complex often break. Often, the simpler something is, the stronger it is. At the same time, the more complex something is, the more it breaks.
It’s often been stated that the simpler something is, the stronger it will be. Nehemiah certainly understood this line of thinking. Even though rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem was an enormous task, Nehemiah had a simple plan for accomplishing it. He didn’t assign any of the jobs by lottery. He didn’t create a whole new organizational structure. He didn’t force any complex charts on anyone. Instead, he made his plan as simple as possible.
Nehemiah organized the people according to their natural groupings - the priests, the men of Jericho, the sons of Hassenaah, and the men of Tekoa. (Nehemiah 3:1-3, 5, 12). These groups of people seemed to be the natural and logical choice because they were made up of people who were already associating with one another. Nehemiah continued this practice by incorporating the most natural of organizational groupings - the family. We see in Nehemiah 4:13 that he posted workers by families for ongoing support, encouragement, and accountability.
The lesson we learn from Nehemiah’s example is that there is no need to create extra organization if it is not needed. If there is already an organizational structure in place, we should try to work through it and with it. Sometimes people enter a situation and the first thing they try to do is change everything. While changes often need to be made, immediate organizational changes are most often not the answer. There’s a wise old saying which says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s good advice for us all, especially when entering a new situation.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Think about your own responsibilities (work, home, family, ministry). How could you make your goals and plans more efficient by making them simpler? Choose one set of your plans and make them as simple as possible. If you’re leading your family through this exercise, talk through one family project which could be simplified. Then, work together to make the necessary adjustments.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, help me to learn from the example of Nehemiah and to organize my life and projects as simply as possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.