Somebody Had To Do It! by Steve Patton
“Malchijah the son of Rechab, ... repaired the Dung Gate.” - Nehemiah 3:14
Taylor has been teaching an excellent class on Ezra/Nehemiah that has helped me reflect on some new things. In the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, different families had responsibility for a wall section, a gate, or a tower. Some rebuilt the Fountain Gate. Others the Valley Gate. Others repaired David's sepulchre walls. Shelah rebuilt the walls by the King’s Garden. What an honor! But Malchijah was assigned…the Dung Gate.
The Dung Gate is assumed to be at the southern end of the wall overlooking the Valley of Hinnom. All the city’s garbage and refuse was dumped there. I rather doubt Malchijah’s great-grandchildren would later brag about what part of the wall their ancestor rebuilt. I wonder if Shelah’s kids made fun of Malchijah’s kids about their father’s Dung Gate assignment.
But someone had to do it. The King’s Garden walls were important but they were worthless if ALL the wall was not rebuilt. The Dung Gate had to be repaired. Everyone likes the prestigious jobs. Few care about the seemingly lowly tasks because they can be unpleasant. Sometimes we think, “Anybody can do that. I have skills for more important jobs." After all, what glory or satisfaction is there in repairing "dung gates?"
When Jesus got up from His hands and knees after washing his disciples dirty, smelly feet, He reminded them: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13.14,15)
Jesus emphasized the greatest in his kingdom would be the lowliest - the ones willing to repair the dung gates. Maybe there is little honor among men in such tasks. But there is great honor in God’s eyes for such willing and humble service.
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28)
True servants are ready to do anything. There are no unimportant tasks in the kingdom. Be ready to serve humbly. God will honor those who honor Him by such humble work.