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Both Nehemiah and Haggai were living in a time where people thought and lived small. All their friends cared about were themselves; the only things they thought about building were their own houses, lives, etc. But Nehemiah and Haggai fought to think beyond themselves and build something great.

In college, it can be easy to fall into the trap of building ourselves up: What major will get me the best-paying job? How can I get a girlfriend/boyfriend to make me look good and feel good? But if we are going to build something great, we have to be driven by something beyond ourselves.

“Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

Haggai 1:4-6 (NLT)

The first step to building something great is acknowledging that we are living small.

Have you ever put a lot of work into something and felt like you didn’t get any results?

Like this Scripture says, when we only build for ourselves, not much is going to come from it, but when we think outside ourselves to fight for other people, great things come from it!

How have you been living small?

So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”

Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”

With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”

Nehemiah 2:2-5 (NLT)

To do something amazing, we have to be willing to do the things that terrify us.

That’s where God comes in! When we don’t have the strength/courage to do the great things we want to do, we can go to God and pray for boldness!

What great thing are you trying to build that you need God’s help to give you that extra push?

‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’

Haggai 2:3-5 (NLT)

God has a knack for making what seems like nothing into something amazing.

What drove the people to build was believing that God was with them and chose them to do something great.

What has God chosen you to do?

10 Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”

Nehemiah 4:10-14 (NLT)

 When we get tired or overwhelmed in trying to build something great, it’s important to do two things:

1. Remember the Lord—remembering what God has already done for us is just as important as believing that he is going to do great things for us.
  • What great things has God already done in your life?
2. Fight for your brothers—we can’t do it alone! When we fight to encourage each other, believe in each other, and make each other great, we make it not about ourselves, but about our friends!
  • Who needs you to fight for them?

Written by

Amy Query

Amy Query is an editor of BACC Inspire and avid reader. She studied psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has over a decade of experience in mentoring, counseling and community organizing.