Nehemiah was what we would call a layman. I personally don’t like the term, which is used to describe someone who is not “in ministry.” Sometimes we think pastors, missionaries, or people who work for churches are in ministry. But every Christian actually is in ministry.
Christians who flip burgers, work in the corporate world, in construction, in education, and so forth are in ministry. In a sense, ministry is simply service. It’s when we say, “God, you put me where I am for a reason. I am available to serve you, and I want my life to bring glory to you.”
God chose to use Nehemiah, the right man in the right place at the right time. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, the leader of the Medo-Persians. The cupbearer had to be someone the king could trust. Actually he had to be someone the king liked, because he spent a lot of time with the king.
Whenever food or drink was served to the king, Nehemiah ate and drank it first. In time Nehemiah became the confidant of the king. But despite his luxurious life, Nehemiah was concerned about others. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down, and he wanted to leverage his position of influence with King Artaxerxes to fund a building program to rebuild those broken walls. Nehemiah realized he was where he was because God wanted him there.
Have you ever thought about the fact that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now? This is true of the neighborhood you live in, the place where you work, or the campus you’re on. You might say, “If I could just change my circumstances . . .” But did it ever occur to you that you are right where you’re supposed to be?