Many people want their name to be great and remembered beyond their lifetime. Many statues were erected as grateful memorials, later forgotten, destroyed, or dumped into obscurity. Those who built Babel wanted their name to be great. (Genesis 11:4) Absalom made a pillar as his legacy. (II Samuel 18:18)
Nehemiah’s prayer: Nehemiah remarkably mobilized people and resources to complete the building of the walls of the city of Jerusalem in fifty-two days. He made sure that the neglected Levites were taken care of and temple worship continued. Then he prays: “Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out the good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and his service.” (Nehemiah 13:14)
Remember: In the ancient world, kings used to keep a book that recorded the good deeds of citizens. Mordecai’s deed was recorded in one such book; he received delayed reward and recognition. (Esther 6:1-3) Prophet Malachi also writes that God has a Book of Remembrance. (Malachi 3:16) Nehemiah prayed that his contribution be remembered in God’s presence forever.
Wipe not: good contributions could be wiped out by future leaders. Solomon’s legacy was wiped out by foolish Rehoboam as the Kingdom was divided. Ungrateful Pharaoh could forget Joseph and his contribution. (Exodus 1:8-11) The temple worship, sabbath regulations, and other restoration that Nehemiah began should not be wiped out by people without faith.
Reward: Perhaps, Nehemiah was not aware of this attribute of God, as an Old Testament saint. God is not unjust, so does not forget the services of his saints. He also rewards them without fail. (Hebrews 6:10) Even a glass of water provided to a disciple in His name, that person will not lose the reward. (Mark 10:42)
Burnt by fire: All works will be tested by fire. Those built with gold, silver, and precious stones will be there, unharmed by the fire. While the work of straw, grass, or hay would be burnt. (I Corinthians 3:12-15) Nehemiah’s work was indeed that of gold, silver, and precious stone of eternal value.
Do I contribute like Nehemiah for His Kingdom?