Back to the story of Nehemiah from the Bible. It’s interesting that Nehemiah built a wall without a quarry. Where did he get all that rock? By some estimates, the wall was over 1.5 miles long, 20 feet tall and 9 feet thick*. That’s a huge amount of rock! Walls using this much material would typically require years of work as men cut and carried new rock from a nearby quarry. But Nehemiah rebuilt the wall in 52 days using the rubble of the old wall.
He used only what he had immediately available. I think there is a spiritual principle here. Sometimes we want God to give us more. More blessing, more territory, more ministry, more, more, more… That’s not bad. It’s okay to pray for more, particularly if it is motivated by the desires God has placed in your heart. But often, when we pray for more, God says, “Before I give you more, what have you done with what I already gave you?”
Nehemiah built the wall with the materials that God had already supplied. True, they were a mess – huge piles of rubble and mortar. It had to be discouraging at first, and I imagine Nehemiah’s initial reaction when he inspected the walls was, “I don’t even know where to start!” But as he built the wall, it had to be apparent that God had given him enough. Not enough to build the walls to their former glory, probably, but enough for what God wanted to do at that time. Maybe later he would have the ability to strengthen the walls, but at this particular time, he had enough for God’s purposes.
If God is not answering your prayer for more, maybe it’s because you have enough already. Maybe He’s waiting for you to put those resources, those skills, those gifts, those relationships to good use. They may be a mess right now. You may feel overwhelmed trying to make use of what you’ve already got, but start somewhere. Place one stone in the wall. In other words, make a single, God-honoring decision. That’s where it all starts. It’s the first godly decision, the first godly action that’s the toughest. The ones that follow start to pick up momentum as you see the progress on your wall. Before long, you’ve got a mighty spiritual wall (and you managed to clean up the place at the same time).
* (Nolte, David P. “A Mind to Work!” www.id.mind.net/~dnol/amindtowork.html)