Rebuilding was nothing if not an overwhelming task. But one section at a time, handled by one small group, one family or even one person and the overwhelming becomes within reach.
Leaders challenge us to new heights because they know we have it in us to do the good works God has prepared for us. When Nehemiah asked the king for timber he could have just as easily asked for laborers. “If it pleases the king, send with me with 1000 slaves that I might repair the city walls. Or send me with 10,000 gold coins that I might buy some laborers.” (Dare I think God has actually equipped and gifted the body to accomplish the hard work of ministry rather than hiring a laborer so we can “count on them”?)
No. The finished wall would come to stand as more than simply a wall. It would be a testimony to God’s glory by God’s people, working side by side. Every individual part of the whole. Every family named – for evermore joined together.
There were some, there always are, who found the work of God beneath them. They chose their high tower away from the messiness of manual labor. They saw their place as above it all. God is no respecter of persons. Their names were written forever as well. Everyone has a purpose, we laugh…some serve as the “bad example”. Fortunately their number was few. I don’t think God is happy about giving out this destination.
There is the obvious lesson about the individual actions I take in my sphere that build the kingdom. Using my gifts, my time, talent and treasure so that God’s kingdom might be seen on earth as it is in heaven.
We are the church, wherever we may be founded building, but I’m struck by the unique call of this story. They were asked to restore the walls of their own city. And, yes God cares about cities – or more accurately God’s cares about the people in those cities.
But that is not my point. This was God’s city. Can I say this could be the church- my church, your local church? Can I say there is work to be done there? Are there any Nehemiahs who believe in our God instilled potential to truly rise up and do the hardwork made lighter by being yoked together?
You [all of you together] are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill [for good or for bad] cannot be hidden. Matt 5
This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another. John 13
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. Eph. 4
…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him… from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4