We have what’s called “Third Stage” water treatment in our small town. (I don’t know what stages one and two represent, and possibly would prefer not to.) Suffice it to say that living next to the water treatment plant isn’t a choice area due to the sulfur-like fragrance that wafts in once in a while. (Who likes eating their morning Wheaties when everything smells like rotten eggs?)
Evidently, the water was A LOT worse before we moved here, before the water treatment plant started doing its thing. I’m sure the natives who remembered the old water were grateful.
I tend to shy away from nasty things, except that being a nurse has probably strengthened my olfactory resolve a bit. Nevertheless, given a choice…
…which, as a Christian, I don’t always have. As a disciple of Christ, that is. There are times I am called to just get in the game, regardless of my personal tastes and sensibilities. That’s why I like this guy, Malkijah. Ever heard of him? Of course not. He’s probably only mentioned once back in the “white” pages of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah had been commissioned with the task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem so that the returning exiles could be safe from their impending enemies, which were plentiful. He motivates the people to each take a portion of the wall, currently in utter ruin, to repair and restore. Here’s just a sample of the ones involved, listed with their assigned portion:
The Valley Gate was repaired by the people from Zanoah, led by Hanun. They set up its doors and installed its bolts and bars. They also repaired the 1,500 feet of wall to the Dung Gate.
The Dung Gate was aptly named. Prior to the exile, this was the area where all the entrails and left over unusable parts were taken, (maybe that’s where haggis originated??), after the prescribed sacrifices were done in the temple to worship God. So, like our water treatment plant, the living area around the Dung Gate was probably not choice real estate.
Now, if I had been working on the wall, yeah, I’d probably want to stop at the Dung Gate as well, but check this out:
The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, the leader of the Beth-hakkerem district. He rebuilt it, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars.
This is pretty amazing. To begin with, Malkijah was a leader. He had status, clout, and he chose to use it to inspire others to get involved. And not merely on some big profile, popular project—this was not the high rent district we’re talking about.
Secondly, he didn’t just rebuild it, he secured it. He gave it 100%. He understood the importance of his part of town (the leftovers had to go somewhere, otherwise the whole town would stink!), and Malkijah gave it the respect it deserved, thus possibly elevating it in the eyes of others as well.
When God calls me to do a job that is seemingly unpleasant or “beneath” me, what’s my decision? I can leave a piece of the church undone, unprotected, breach-able by the enemy, or…
I can ask God to give me His vision, His strength, His heart to respect my assigned piece of the wall.
(And it’s okay to bring a little potpourri.)
Nehemiah 3:13-14 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.