Nehemiah served as cupbearer to the most powerful monarch in his day. He was the last line of defense against any attempts at the life of the king through poisoning. It was a remarkable trust. While the king held the lives of all his subjects in his hand, the cupbearer held the life of the king in his cup. Nehemiah was one of a few that the most powerful man in the world trusted with his life. It is a testimony to his character.
At times, Nehemiah may have been called to taste the king’s wine or food as a guarantee that it was not poisoned. Failure to arrest a plot against the life of the king before it reached the pot or the cup could cost the cupbearer his own life. To ensure his longevity on the job, Nehemiah would have had to monitor the logistics of what food was permitted into the king’s kitchen, oversee maintenance of a strict health code, and manage the kitchen staff, among other things.
We deduce that his job required him to plan ahead for logistical necessities, practice discretion and diplomacy, and manage human resources effectively. This same set of skills came into play when God called him to the mission of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Whether he was working at his secular vocation or accomplishing a specific mission for God, Nehemiah’s character and skills contributed to his success. His vocation and his calling were not synonymous, but he remained consistent in his character.
Can we get so caught up in trying to figure out what we’re to do in life that we neglect developing who we ought to be? Shifting our focus from picking a career to developing transferable skills and a godly character will prove beneficial in any vocation and calling.