Focal passage: Nehemiah 6:1-3, 15-16; 8:1-3, 5-8
God’s Word must be central to our lives to truly serve Him. My grandmother’s kitchen is filled with beautiful memories. It’s been over a decade, but I still recall family dinners overflowing with laughter, lessons in making the perfect gravy and the delights of taste testing homemade pickles.
One of my favorite moments was the year she baked the sweetest cornbread I have ever tasted.
When baking, one must remain focused and pay careful attention to each detail of a recipe. Omitting just one ingredient or changing just one amount may result in disaster. In the same way, when serving God, one must determine to make God’s Word central to all of life and ministry.
In a world where distractions are numerous, we must remain focused on God’s call. As Nehemiah rebuilt the Jerusalem wall, many men attempted to distract him from his work. In response to requests that Nehemiah leave the project to meet with them, he asked, “Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3).
Serving God also requires that we pay careful attention to His Word. After the completion of the wall, all the people gathered in the public square. As Ezra the priest read the Law of Moses for multiple hours, “all the people listened attentively” (Nehemiah 8:3).
And yet, simply hearing God’s Word was insufficient. The people in Jerusalem did not merely listen. Instead, they responded with worship and a longing to understand. Some “knelt low and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6). Others listened as Levites translated and taught the meaning of the words being read.
On the day my grandmother baked her infamous sweet cornbread, my family decided to examine her recipe. It took just moments to discover her error. My grandmother had followed the recipe incorrectly, and instead of cornbread, we were eating yellow cake!
If we want to bake successfully, we must pay close attention to every detail of the recipe. If we desire to truly serve God, we must devote our lives to studying His Word, allowing Him to transform our lives as we seek His will.