Above the Horse Gate the priests worked, each priest repairing the wall in front of his own house. Nehemiah 3:28 (MSG)
I was watching the beginning of the movie, The Big Lebowski, the other day (one of my favorites, I must confess). In the prologue, the gruff and resonant voice of Sam Elliot tells us:
Now this story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early nineties—just about the time of our conflict with Sad’m and the Eye-rackies. I only mention it ’cause sometimes there’s a man—I won’t say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero? But sometimes there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here—sometimes there’s a man who, wal, he’s the man for his time and place, he fits right in there—and that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles.
The story of Nehemiah is the ancient story of how the ruined walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. As I read through the third chapter it struck me that the people who rebuilt the wall had been living in Jerusalem all along. Nehemiah didn't bring an army of contractors and brick layers with him from exile in Persia. The labor was available. What they didn't have was a leader. What they needed was a man for his time and place to rally the people, confront the opposition and lead the charge. Nehemiah was the Dude, in Jerusalem, in 413 B.C.
Where is my place? What is my time? How has God strategically placed me to influence the world, the people, the culture around me?