Two sides of the same coin
Nehemiah 1: The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.
The stories of Ezra and Nehemiah are actually two sides of the same coin. Ezra returns to Jerusalem as priest and teacher. His mission is to reestablish worship and teach God’s Law to the returned exiles there. Nehemiah returns as a builder. He brings building and organizational skills to bear on the pile of rubble that is Jerusalem. Together these two men are used by God to accomplish a fresh start for the people of Israel. If I’m ever tempted to divide “sacred” from “secular” in my life I need to spend some time thinking about Ezra and Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s work is every bit as necessary and Spirit-driven as is that of Ezra. When Nehemiah hears of the conditions in distant Jerusalem he immediately prepares to do something about it; not by organizing work crews and accumulating building materials, but by praying. As God’s people, everything we do, even building walls, is done “unto the Lord” and therefore, falls under the “sacred” category.
Take Away: Everything we do as a people of the Lord has a sacred flavor to it.