I’m reading through Nehemiah right now. Chapter 3 lists the people who rebuilt a section of the walls of Jerusalem. Dozens of people and groups are mentioned as doing their part. For some, it was just a matter of repairing a section of the wall in front of their house.
Then, in verse 20, we come to a guy named Baruch. The verse says Baruch “zealously repaired another section.” No adverb is used with any other persons, only Baruch. I imagine some people worked on the wall out of a sense of duty, or because they were coerced in some way. But Baruch did it zealously. It obviously made an impression on Nehemiah, and he appreciated Baruch’s enthusiasm enough to specifically point it out.
People like Baruch thrill the heart of a leader.
A couple weeks ago, Pam and I visited my parents’ church and sat in Dad’s Sunday school class. It’s obvious that, when it comes to teaching this class, Dad does it zealously. I’ve had many Sunday school teachers over the years who were certainly less than zealous, doing it instead because they had their arms twisted. But one teacher stands out, and my parents know exactly who I’m going to name: Dick Zimmerman, who taught my class when I was in 6th grade in Harrisburg, Pa. He put an incredible amount of energy and creativity into that class, and he has always been my model of an exemplary teacher.
Are there things I do that people say, “Steve did that zealously”? In what do I show zeal? Hmmm. Something to think about.