“Use both hands!”
As a child, I heard this many times, getting on my bicycle and preparing to ride off with friends down the sidewalk in front of my house. One was thought to be ALL THAT if they could navigate their bicycle using just one hand on the handlebars and wildly waving the other hand in the air. However, Mom and Dad did not agree with THAT at ALL! They were thinking of skinned elbows and knees and the twisted frame of the bike that could result from the one-handed operator—me! So, “Use both hands!” was spoken not only at the point of my departure but repeated at least once more as I rode down the sidewalk. Mom’s voice could carry six blocks down and two streets over; not kidding! Those words reverberated in my mind all the way to my first years of driving.
Today we say: “Put down the phone when you’re driving. Don’t drive distracted.” State laws tell us to use “hands-free devices only while driving.” No matter how it’s spoken, the “use both hands” message is still loud and clear.
When I thought about this, I was reminded of Nehemiah’s story. Nehemiah was a Jew born in Babylon, raised in exile, and appointed cupbearer to the king of Persia. Some of his countrymen were released from exile and allowed to return to Judah and repopulate it. But as they try to do this, they experience stiff resistance from their non-Jewish neighbors. Messengers returned to Persia to give Nehemiah the news that the remnant of Jews in the province was afflicted and reproached, the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and the gates burned with fire.
After hearing this news, Nehemiah is distraught and burdened for his nation and city. He prays that God will grant him favor with the king and he’ll be allowed time to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. God grants his request, and Nehemiah returns to Judah. The repairing and rebuilding begin under Nehemiah’s leadership and direction.
During this time, enemies arise, trying to discourage and distract Nehemiah and the other workers and stop them from completing their mission. They said, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work” (Nehemiah 4:11). These enemies mean business. They do not want the walls rebuilt.
In response to these threats, Nehemiah says this, and I paraphrase: “Okay, this is what we’ll do. We’re going to use both hands.”
Nehemiah 4:16 states,
“The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.”
Using both hands as they worked on the walls, they could do what their enemies said could never be accomplished- they rebuilt the walls in fifty-two days. Wow!
You and I are laborers together with God, working in God’s kingdom and for His purpose. Nehemiah had Sanballat and Tobiah as his natural enemy. Our enemy is an unseen spiritual enemy that wants to do everything possible to discourage, distract, and ultimately destroy what we’re doing for the Lord. So, we must USE BOTH HANDS!
In the one hand, we have a tool. Our tools are talents, gifts, and callings God has given us. Whether to sing, encourage, edify, intercede, teach, or reach. Whatever Jesus has called, equipped, and enabled us to do for His purpose. In the other hand, we hold a weapon—the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. It is powerful! It is life! It is victory! It is salvation! When we read, live, and speak it, we defeat and destroy the enemy of our soul.
It is important to remember that what we hold in our hands must work together. If our desires, plans, talents, and gifts supersede or contradict God’s Word or His will, we will fail, and what we are trying to build and accomplish will not stand. However, when we work in unity, submission, and obedience to the Word of God we will accomplish what we are commissioned to do for His glory and kingdom purpose.
Philippians 1:6 states,
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Have you got your tool in one hand and your weapon in the other?
Let’s work together for His kingdom using both hands until He comes!