It had been ninety years since the exiles of Israel had returned to Jerusalem at the order of Cyrus, king of Persia; seventy years since the temple was rebuilt. Still Jerusalem lay in neglected ruins from the time when Nebuchadnezzar had taken them into captivity a century and a half ago. Of the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah had written, “Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, or who will grieve for you? Who will turn aside to ask about your welfare?” (Jeremiah 15:5). A century and a half later, the answer came.
Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:1-2). Nehemiah listened, he wept, and he prayed. Then Nehemiah thought, “Now I was cupbearer to the king” (Nehemiah 1:11).
At a party, making polite conversation, I asked a man, “What do you do?” “I am a servant of the most high God who sells cars to support my ministry,” he responded. His job is at Toyota, but he works for the Creator of the universe. He believed, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Nehemiah was a servant of the most high God. Nehemiah was exactly where God wanted him to be. He had access to the king when Jerusalem needed access to the king. He was God’s servant in God’s place at God’s time for God’s work among God’s people. That’s what “Now I was cupbearer to the king” means. It means, “Put me to work, God. I am inside the palace and I am available.”
My God, You have made such a wonderful world. I pause in the morning to remind myself that each day is a gift from You. May my life give You pleasure. May I always remember that I am an ambassador for the King of kings, and I serve at Your pleasure. May I at all times be exactly where You want me to be, following Your ways, available for Your work in this world.
All that I do, I do with all my heart, because I serve You and all that You have created.