When we read the first few verses of Nehemiah 11 we see “The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem…”
The people blessed those who volunteered.

The scripture goes on to list names of those who came into the city, including for many what their roles were, and those who settled in the outlying areas in Judah. These verses show us along with the rest of the chapter what is required for effective community and that God works through willing people. They point to one key spiritual lesson: serving.

Serving is a decision and a way of life that puts what God wants ahead of what I want.

Nehemiah wanted the people to see that in order to restore the city to its proper glory, a willingness to serve God was required. When we consider the story at this point: the wall was built; the people were beginning to be spiritually revived but the need for willing workers, for the growth of community was great. The problem was a great city, but no people in it!

The equivalent is we can have fine premises and facilities but low-level willingness, foresight or incentive to do anything with it. While our situation is different, like Jerusalem then, the needs are immense; there are plenty of things to be done where we need willing people to serve in leadership and ministry opportunities.

There is no end of scriptural basis to support the fact we ought to serve willingly. But why would we want to? Why we would choose willingly to serve, where my value is serve, my central attitude is serve, is because we want to honour God, and as a response to what he’s done for us in the person of Jesus. We can only give, and give away in serving, what we have first received.

What have we received? Everything we need in the person of Jesus.

With how much of our lives then, should we serve? Everything we have, because of Jesus.
Serving is for all, no exemptions, no exclusivity, there is something for us all to be and do, to be the healthy, fully functioning body the Lord wants us to be. God can use your willingness, your “yes Lord I’ll do it”, to serve, to accomplish things that can have lasting significance, for him and toward others.

Will you be the one commended, because you made the decision to serve?!