January 25, 2023
The Power of Motivation
Nehemiah - “Rephaiah son of Hur, the leader of half the district of Jerusalem, was next to them on the wall. Next Jedaiah son of Harumaph repaired the wall across from his own house, and next to him was Hattush son of Hashabneiah…After them, Benjamin and Hasshub repaired the section across from their house, and Azariah son of Maaseiah and grandson of Ananiah repaired the section across from his house. ” (Nehemiah 3:9-10, 23)
Nehemiah understood the magnitude of a project like rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem. He knew that he needed to build motivation amongst the people doing the work, or they might lose their initial enthusiasm and give up. Nehemiah kept this in mind in the organization of the overall project and of the individual sections of the wall. He organized the work and allowed the people to have and feel ownership of the section where they were working. This allowed them to feel like it was their project which in turn built motivation.
In the scripture above, it is easy to see the project ownership amongst the people. In verse 10, Jedaiah son of Harumaph repaired the wall across from his own house. In verse 23, Benjamin and Hasshub repaired the section across from their house. In verse 28, the priests made repairs above the horse gate, each in front of their own house. In verse 29, Zadok, son of Immer made repairs across from his house. In verse 30, Meshullam made repairs across from his living quarters. Nehemiah understood that when you are completing a project, you let people work on things they’re interested in and most especially where they are personally invested. Because of this, Nehemiah knew the people would want to repair the sections of the wall closest to their own homes.
What is the result when you allow ownership in a project of this magnitude? The answer is super high motivation. If we’re given the responsibility of rebuilding the section of the wall that’s going to protect our own personal homes and families, we’re going to do the best job we can possibly do. An added bonus was that people could walk outside in the morning and be on the jobsite. They could easily eat lunch and dinner with their families. Making projects as convenient as possible for people helps increase their motivation and productivity.
Can you imagine the conversations going on between Jedaiah, Benjamin, Hasshub, Zadok, and Meshullam? At the end of each day, they most likely leaned back and surveyed the work they had done with pride. They probably spoke with each other and learned how to improve their brick and mortar making techniques. They were most likely extremely proud of the work they were doing. And little did they know that we would be reading about their rebuilding efforts three thousand years after the wall was completed. In the projects we complete, may we help to motivate others to the point that they do such a great job that people are still talking and reading about them hundreds and thousands of years from now.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Are you involved in any work, ministry, or family projects where you could share the workload (and the credit) with others who are personally invested? Take a minute to pray about this and then write out how you might make this happen. If you are leading your family through these devotions, consider having a family meeting where you can discuss a family project where the work and ownership of the project can be shared in such a way amongst your family that motivation levels are high.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, help me to learn from the example of Nehemiah. Help me to share the ownership of the projects where I am involved in order to help motivate and inspire others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.