“Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.” Nehemiah 5:19
Nehemiah was appointed to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. The Exiles were returning from the east. Safety was a concern. Walls keep the people safe. So God chose Nehemiah to be the Governor to rebuild the wall.
But the times were tough. Food was scarce, the conditions of daily living were challenging, and that makes people grumble. So they grumbled against Nehemiah assuming that he was taking care of himself while they struggled to survive.
The truth was though, that Nehemiah ate the same food the people ate. He never took any special privilege. Quite the contrary, Nehemiah was generous in his stewardship of the city’s governance.
This verse concludes his prayer to God. And it is a model for the prayer of a good steward. First, in asking God to “remember,” Nehemiah begins with a right view of himself. He approaches the throne room of God in the humility of trusting God’s judgment over his work and life.
“Remember” or “think upon me” is Nehemiah’s confession that Yahweh is Lord over all things, including himself, and as a good steward he willingly submits to God in humble service.
Second, Nehemiah also reveals a right view of God. Only a few words later we hear his appeal to “my God.” While he is humbled before the Creator he also acknowledges the relationship that he has with God. Nehemiah’s heart confesses his personal devotion toward his Lord.
Sandwiched between we see that Nehemiah also had a right view of his vocation. He asks God to remember him on the basis of that vocation. While we might be tempted to ask God to reward us for our accomplishments, Nehemiah recognizes that his stewardship of God’s things requires God to be the judge of success.
In humility, and knowing that he trusts his God, Nehemiah is comfortable to be judged on the basis of his work. Should his service be acceptable, praise be to God. Should his service be found wanting, praise be to God, for his judgment is righteous.
This is wisdom for us. We are stewards of God’s things. Our approach to our work begins in the humility of the stewards desire to serve. And this service is solely to the glory of God with whom we share a unique fellowship. Christ bought us out of death and gives us eternal life through a heart of mercy and solely by grace.
Therefore, we can trust his judgment of our work. Where we succeed in our management we humbly give the glory to God. When our management is less than our best, or even fails, we have the trust in Christ’s forgiveness to rejoice at God’s judgment not as chastisement but as his gracious opportunity to learn and grow and apply ourselves rightly again, for His glory.