For the past two days, I find myself fascinated by the account in Nehemiah about those working to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the midst of great opposition. God’s people endured ridicule, exhaustion, and the threat of attack while doing the work they knew God had called them do do. The account in chapter 4 (verses 16-18) explains the response of the workers:
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 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
The image of going about our work for the Lord–in all forms across the world–with materials in one hand and weapons in the other reminds me of our daily stance before the enemy of our souls. In one hand, I carry my writing pen; in the other, I carry the sword of the Spirit–God’s word (Ephesians 6), and the wisdom of God that demolishes strongholds (2 Corinthians 10).
We work and we fight at the same time.