[forthright] Camel Lag

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2011 04:49:15 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine 
Straight to the Cross

When troubles come, no one knows better than Job. 'In
Search of Perfection: Studies from Job,' by Michael E.
Brooks. Click here:


Camel Lag
 by Michael E. Brooks

   "So I came to Jerusalem and was there three
   days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few
   men with me; I told no one what my God had
   put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was
   there any animal with me, except the one on
   which I rode" (Nehemiah 2:11-12 NKJV).

It is more than 10,000 miles by air from my home in
Alabama to South Asia, to where I have traveled this
past week. There is twelve hours difference (twelve
time zones) between Alabama time and Bangladesh time.
In other words they are exactly on opposite sides of
the earth.

Jet lag is a concept with which I am very familiar.
After flying for about 26 hours of actual time in the
air over an elapsed total time of 36 to 42 hours on
average, I am always tired and physically confused. My
mind may say "It is morning, let's get to work." My
body however responds, "I am tired; it is time to

When Ezra the scribe led a company of Priests and
Levites from Babylon to Jerusalem, the journey required
exactly four months ( Ezra 7:7-9). We do not know how
long Nehemiah and his guards took to make the same
trip, but it was certainly a long and arduous journey.

Similarly, we are not told just why it was three days
after arrival in Jerusalem before Nehemiah began his
mission. My own personal experience suggests he may
have required a little resting time. Perhaps he was
suffering from "Camel Lag" from his long trip across
the desert.

Time is a valuable resource, yet our use of it must
reflect physical reality. Nehemiah's example leads us
to a few reasonable guidelines which will help us
become good stewards of our time.

First, do not hesitate to use necessary time for rest
and recuperation. When the disciples returned from the
limited comission Jesus invited them to "Come aside by
yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" ( Mark
6:31). He understood the body's demands. It is not a
waste of time for us to get the rest which is required
for good health and strength.

A recent news report suggested that in America there is
an epidemic of sleep deprivation -- too many people
just don't get enough sleep to be healthy.

However, the body's need for rest however in no way
justifies laziness and idleness ( Proverbs 24:30-34; 2
Thessalonians 3:10).

Second, Nehemiah shows us that when rest has been
acquired, promptness and careful haste are appropriate.
Certainly his arising in the night was partially in
order to preserve secrecy for his mission. Yet there is
also the inescapable conclusion that Nehemiah wanted to
waste no available time. His task was urgent. He moved
decisively and quickly.

The New Testament teaches us, "Behold, now is the
accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2
Corinthians 6:2). We are to "Walk circumspectly, . . .
redeeming the time, because the days are evil"
(Ephesians 5:15, 16). Time is one of God's gifts to us.
Let us be good stewards in its use.

Third, Nehemiah made excellent use of the time which he
was given. When he asked the king of Persia to be
appointed governor of Judah, the King said, "How long
will your journey be?" (Nehemiah 2:6). Nehemiah was
conscious of a limited time-frame in which to act. He
worked swiftly therefore without delay or hindrance.

When enemies of Israel sought to distract him from his
labors he responded, "I am doing a great work, so that
I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I
leave it and go down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3). As a
result of his determination, the wall of Jerusalem was
completed in a remarkable span of only 52 days
(Nehemiah 6:15).

There are physical limitations within which we all must
work. Yet we must also give an account for the way we
use our time, as is the case with all our possessions
and resources. Nehemiah teaches us to be time
conscious. In so doing, we too can accomplish great
works for the Lord.

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