“I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot”
There’s a new classic line in modern culture from the musical Hamilton, “I’m not throwing away my shot.” It’s Alexander Hamilton’s determination to work hard to achieve a dream – not a shot with a bullet but a shot at making a difference in a new land – and he knows he needs to work. And work pays off. All his intense work and life were fueled by not throwing away his opportunities – before that fatal bullet.
A little devotion booklet was handed to me by a new friend, and I turned to a passage that speaks of Nehemiah who desired to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. He wept, prayed, fasted. He spiritually prepared and believed in the project, he knew he had a shot to improve their future, then he and his co-laborers got to work. The booklet devotion reminds us that the Lord’s protection is around us. That the Lord is building and rebuilding our lives. That people who have a “mind to work” can work hand in hand with the Hand that loves them, with His guidance and strength. The scripture (pasted below) tells of the workers building and being called to defend their positions and families all while working.
And they don’t “throw away their shot” at a better future. Over and over again in history we see people striving and working together to improve lives. Alexander Hamilton and all workers for their individual causes don’t want to throw away their future. Nehemiah (2:20) said: “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding…”
Of course we are to remember that any work that is not built with a firm foundation will fall. Psalm 127 reminds:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
Nehemiah instructs his worker families to trust the Lord: “Don’t be afraid of them [their enemies]. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
In reading about Peter in a wonderful book by Michael Card, “The Fragile Stone”, I understand more of why Jesus was building His church on the rock that Peter will become. That no matter how emotional, quick to anger, fragile, humanly human Peter was, Jesus built him up spiritually and forever, and commanded him to feed, strengthen and buildup “His sheep”…
Jesus builds and rebuilds us too. Jesus grows us, the Spirit protects us, God holds us in His LOVE.
It is a world of anxieties and strife that invades our peace, today more than ever. Yet, we are to rebuild our opportunity to establish peace, whether a wall of peace that brings families together, or an opportunity teaching peace which helps others have more reliance upon our Lord. We are to fear the Lord for His awesome power, outwardly focus and pray for others above our issues, and work knowing that He will protect, provide, and prosper our next generations.
Blessed are those who count their blessings and don’t let anxious times shake their faith. Keep praying forward.
Without God, we are laboring in vain. With God, we are laboring in LOVE.
With faith we won’t fall.
Fight to improve our future, future for all!!!
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.