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Published Date: July 8, 2010

Published Date: July 8, 2010

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Cover of "Created to Thrive".

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Willing to Help

You know, of course, the story of The Little Red Hen and her friends—a duck, a cat and a pig (or a goose and dog and whatever animal your favorite version has). The Little Red Hen found a grain of wheat and, deciding to plant it, she asked who would help.

“Not I,” said the duck.
“Not I,” said the cat.
“Not I,” said the pig.

The Little Red Hen asked for help many times: when it was time to cut the wheat, to thresh it and to grind it into flour, to bake the flour into bread. Each time, her unwilling friends responded, “Not I–not I–not I.” To which The Little Red Hen responded each time, “Then I will.” And she did.

When the bread had been baked, The Little Red Hen asked again, “Who will help me eat this bread?” Her friends replied eagerly,

“I will!” said the duck.
“I will!” said the cat.
“I will!” said the pig.

“Oh no, you won’t!” said The Little Red Hen. “I will!” And she did.

I hope you can see the connection between this story and the account from Scripture of repairing the city of Jerusalem when the residents returned from exile. The high priest and his brethren led the way, apparently not considering that this was work for only common laborers. Some, the “nobles” from the town of Tekoa, refused to assist, but Nehemiah lists many others (chapter 3) who made themselves available. There are no expert builders and carpenters available? “Then we will!” said the priests, and goldsmiths, perfume makers, district leaders, merchants and women.

Women? Yes, the daughters of Shallum, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, helped their father with the work of reconstruction. No sons in the family? “Then we will!” said the daughters. And they did.

Were they sturdy teenagers who could tramp among the ruins to locate burned bricks and carry them to the building site? Or were they older women of means, perhaps heiresses or rich widows, who gave liberally to advance the project? Were there two of them—or six? We don’t know, but they are the only women mentioned among men and their sons who made a significant contribution to the work.

Never believe that what we as women have to offer our families, our communities, our churches, or the Kingdom of God is unimportant. Often all it takes is seeing where we are meant to help and saying, “Then I will!” and doing it.