Today, I want to tell you about a man whose job was to serve glasses like this. Actually, his job
was a little more complicated than just serving drinks. His official title was “cupbearer.” That
means he served drinks to the king and his court. But that’s not the end of it either. Sometimes,
before serving the king, the cupbearer tasted the king’s drink. Do you know why he did that?
Because the king was afraid of being poisoned! If the cupbearer drank and didn’t become ill, the
drink was safe. If the cupbearer got sick or died—well, the king didn’t drink the wine. How would
you like that job?
Because of the nature of this job, cupbearers were highly paid. They were also among the most
trusted people in the palace because the king literally put his life in the cupbearers’ hands. So
when I tell you that Nehemiah was a powerful man who had great wealth and the king’s ear in
ancient Persia, you get an idea of just what I mean.
But Nehemiah was not a Persian. He was an Israelite, and as a young boy, he was taken from his
homeland as a prisoner when Babylon conquered Israel. It says a lot about Nehemiah that a slave
boy would grow up to be one of the king’s most trusted servants.
Nehemiah loved the king, and he had a very comfortable life in Persia. But when Nehemiah
learned about how things were in his homeland, he became greatly troubled. The city of
Jerusalem was in ruins. The walls were still broken down, and the city’s most beautiful places lay
in ruins. Nehemiah wanted to do something, so he began to pray.
Nehemiah felt the Lord leading him to go back to Israel. He went to the king and told him about
this, and the king allowed his servant to return home. There, Nehemiah became one of the new
leaders of Israel. Nehemiah spent the next several years of his life living among ruins and working
hard to rebuild a conquered city that was constantly under threat of attack.
Can you imagine giving up a position of power like Nehemiah? Imagine leaving a big, fancy house
and an important job to go live in a war zone. Yet that’s what Nehemiah did. He didn’t consider
how much harder life would be. He didn’t even think about how dangerous it might be. Someone
had to start rebuilding the nation of Israel, and when God called, Nehemiah didn’t hesitate to go.
Someday, God may call on you to leave your nice home, your safe city, or maybe even your
country. He may call you to go someplace dangerous. He may send you into a war zone.
Someday, God might call you to do something even more terrifying—like becoming friends with
a kid at school nobody likes or standing up for the truth when no one else will. When that time
comes, remember the man who held the king’s cup. He didn’t stop to think about all that it would
cost him to obey God. He simply obeyed.
To download this story, click here: Nehemiah-Wineglass