You know the type. You may even be the type. They’re always happy. They smile, they’re cheery, they’re always ready with a kind and uplifting word. They have a glow about them.
Now you may hate these types. They make you wander what kind of drugs they’re taking. And instead of cheering you up, they just remind you that you’re not happy. You look at them the way a non-morning person looks at morning people. If you think this way, it probably says more about you than them.
Or, you may love these type of people. You desire to be around them for they lift your spirits and they encourage you. They make you want to be a better person, to work harder, and yes, even smile.
In school, I loved math. And, I was pretty good at it – not Sheldon Cooper good, but pretty good. I loved math class. I enjoyed having math homework. Cheered at the occasional pop quiz. I found delight in doing work on the board. But I didn’t really think how my zeal impacted others. Instead of encouraging them to join me in my love for calculus, I was more a show off and thus … well, let’s just say that not a lot of friends were made in math class.
In Nehemiah 3, we’re seeing some principles on working together on a project. We saw leaders set the example, that some worked outside of their skill sets, and some were willing to do the more undesirable jobs. In verse 20, we see today’s lesson from the example of a Baruch …
Some people are willing to work harder than others.
Do you see that one word, that adverbial addition that sets Baruch apart from every other name in this chapter? For only Baruch is said to be working zealously. Some ancient manuscripts even leave the word out, as if it seemed out of place. I mean, it is only mentioned here, not with anyone else. But I think it is meant to be there. It’s meant to show us an example of a worker that goes above and beyond the norm for his city, his friends, his God.
The word itself comes from a word that means ‘to burn or glow.’ Baruch shows up smiling, cheerful, and puts his all into it. No just skating by. No doing the bare minimum. He glows and in doing so encourages others around him.
At our church, we’ve got several of these wonderful ‘glowing’ peeps. One is a Robert P. This Boomer age volunteer works with toddlers. He gets down on their level and plays and teaches simple truths to these 2&3 year olds. If it wasn’t for being in an culture of mask wearing, you would see he is always smiling.
He is zealously serving the church, the kids, and his Lord. And seeing this makes me want to be better, serve harder, and smile while doing it.
We need more people like Robert. I need to be more like him. I need to be more like Baruch.
May one day someone say, after him Todd son of Robert zealously served in his part of Kingdom work, from the commonwealth of the Old Dominion to the Lone Star state.