I have been participating in a daily Bible reading through IF:Equip. Yesterday we read Nehemiah 3. The passage describes a group of builders working together to rebuild different gates in Jerusalem. Name after name is listed along with which portion of the gate he was completing.
Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.
The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired. And next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel repaired. And next to them Zadok the son of Baana repaired. And next to themthe Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.
Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Gate of Yeshanah. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River. Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired. Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired. Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh,ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters. … read the entire passage here
I’ll admit, when I read passages like this in the Bible my eyes tend to glaze over and my brain enters “skim” mode. I am not sure why this happens. Maybe the names are hard to pronounce. Or maybe the lists are long. Or maybe I am trying to skip over it to get to the “meat” of the passage … forgetting that its ALL meat.
But yesterday I forced myself to slow down and read each name and the job he was completing. Name after name after name after name.
And I was mesmerized. This is beautiful stuff. When God zooms in like this and shows us the details, He does it for a reason.
In this case, we see a group of God’s people working together to achieve a goal. Perhaps each job seems insignificant when viewed in isolation. But collectively – the walls were rebuilt.
I wonder how many of us feel like what we are doing is insignificant. Like what you are working on for the kingdom is the type of thing that gets skimmed over. Unnoticed. Unimportant. Unglamorous.
This passage reminds us that each person’s role is critical for the greater mission.
If God were to zoom in for a watching world and show how each part we play fits together in the larger picture of His plan, I think we all would sit up a bit straighter. Work a bit harder. And rest in the contentment that comes from knowing our Father is watching.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men Colossians 3:23
I had several women over last night for IF:Table. As the sun set, we sat around a table sharing our stories and speaking affirming words to one another. Again I was reminded how absolutely beautiful God’s people are and how each contribution matters. Every woman there had a story. And a ministry. And a mission.
I kept thinking about that Nehemiah passage and how we are still building – even now. Each person at that table is playing a God-ordained role and collectively we are impacting the Kingdom. For a night we had the opportunity to pause, come together, and encourage one another. It was our time to zoom in on what God is doing through each person.
I hope the women left refreshed and energized to continue in their work. Knowing that God sees their significance, and so do their fellow builders.
So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Nehemiah 4:6