Nehemiah and Me: 1, 2, 3
I have something in common with Nehemiah, and I’d guess you do, too. Nehemiah who? Remember the faithful man who was cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes of Babylon, where the unfaithful Israelites had been taken as captives? The man who received the King’s permission to return to the land of his ancestors and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem? Still don’t remember? The Old Testament book of Nehemiah between Ezra and Esther? Oh, that Nehemiah!
Like most of you, I’m a list-maker, penciling on paper scraps (or my planner) lists of groceries, errands, prayers, books to read . . .
Today’s to-do’s will become tomorrow’s recycling, but Nehemiah’s detailed lists have been preserved for over 2500 years.
He recorded lists of exiles who returned to Jerusalem after being in captivity. He counted their servants (7337), singers (245), horses (736), mules (245), camels (435), and donkeys (6720). He also kept track of donations (how much and from whom) of gold, silver, and garments.
Although Nehemiah’s attention to detail amazes me, the list that has inspired me lately is his descriptive chronicle of those who rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall and gates. Although it isn’t in bullet points or enumerated “1, 2, 3,” he records the names of all who helped repair and rebuild the wall and its gates, in consecutive order starting and finishing with the Sheep Gate.
Nehemiah lists the high priest and fellow priests, rulers, goldsmiths, perfume makers, merchants, men from small towns, and a few women. Some worked on a small section of wall by their home. Some rebuilt 500 yards. Regardless of class, occupation, or gender, people worked together to finish the wall in a remarkable 52 days. There were a few exceptions, and their names are missing from the list.
The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors. Nehemiah 3:5 NIV
Every person repairing the wall of Jerusalem was needed and wanted. Every stone and brick fit together to make the whole: small stones, large stones, corner stones, capstones; gates done elaborately and gates constructed with only utility in mind. The only bad stone would be no stone at all.
It is a picture of the church today, where each of us has a function. How sad that the noblemen of Tekoa thought they were above manual labor!
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. I Cor. 12:27 NIV
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thess. 5:11 NIV
Few of us will be sought-after pastors or in-demand speakers or best-selling authors. We all want to feel special and unique–and we are–but there is a great need for hundreds and thousands of seemingly similar bricks and stones. There is a great need for good mothers and fathers, good workers, good husbands and wives, good friends. We can serve our local body and our communities in so many simple ways.
Imagine what we can build, together!
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Wall photos by Barb Briggs
Posted on July 9, 2015, in Devotional and tagged body of Christ, lists, Nehemiah, stones, walls. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.
A good reminder that all are important, not just the highly visible. Thank you.
Thanks, Heather! I’m praying to be content with whatever size stone I’m able to put in the wall and with whatever ministry God has given me in the body of Christ.
Constance, brilliant post and a brilliant reminder to us all to work together for the Lord. May He bless you, my sister.
Hi, Lois! Thanks for visiting and leaving kind words in your comment. I’m happy to be serving the Lord together with you.
A truly inspiring post, Connie! After seeing the walls of old Jerusalem for myself, I’m even more impressed with what God accomplished through Nehemiah and Company…amazing!
How wonderful to have actually seen (and touched?) the walls of Jerusalem, Lynn! Did you write about your time there?
“Nehemiah and Company”–I like that!
I wrote a journal while touring Israel… a few poems as well 🙂
Are they on your blog?
A beautiful picture of the Body of Christ. I have always seen God working through His Body in such a way and love to help others find and develop their calling. Thank you for dropping by my place and wishing me well with my books. Prayers are always appreciated!
P.S. I also blog at http://www.thewritersreverie.com
Thank you, Kathryn! Thanks for reading. Yes, we are the body of Christ, and each of us a part of it, whether big, fancy stone or small brick, whether eye, hand, or feet. We each have a calling.
Yes, each one has talents given to us by God and when we allow Him to use us within the Body of Christ, we can build the wall that He intends for us to build.
I loved reading this with the great photos spread all down the way. They each felt like a number on that to-do list!
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
Thank you, Linda, for taking time to read and comment. My friend, Barb’s photos are great, aren’t they! I feel so sad when I hear Christians think they don’t have anything to offer because they’re so ordinary. We can do amazing things when we work together.
The book of Nehemiah is a favorite. I was studying the book of Nehemiah when my grandson was born over 5 weeks premature. They named him Nehemiah, “our God comforts”. He’s fourteen months now and walking and saying a few words, even “Nana”!
Your grandson has a wonderful name to grow into, Elizabeth! You’ll be like Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, passing on your faith, the story of God’s faithfulness, and the meaning of “Nehemiah” to your grandson. Thanks for sharing this story, Nana!
I’ve been a Nehemiah addict for years and years. He’s a “me”. I hope to meet him when I’m in heaven. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I am inspired by Nehemiah’s prayerfulness as well as his attention to detail and list-making.
I love the story of Nehemiah and his commitment to following through with building the wall. I also love how you pointed out that we can make the difference we need for God right in our own communities. I am hearing that theme more often recently and believe it to be true. Thank you for sharing this at the Weekend Brew.
Thank you, Mary for taking time to read and comment! I want to be obedient and repair the wall with whatever kind of stone or brick God has gifted me with. I hope we can ignore the lie that says we can’t make a difference.
Imagine the possibilities indeed.
Thank you for taking time to read and comment. God is good to equip us for this work and to strengthen us while we carry it out.
I love how you paired the brick laid walls with this commentary. So fitting! A wonderful metaphor for the Body of Christ. Lovely!
Thank you so much, Laura! My friend, Barb, provided such wonderful photos to work with. I hope, I pray each of us in the body of Christ finds the part that we are and finds contentment and joy in it.
I love how you took the story of Nehemiah and weaved it in with this lesson! It so often feels less than success, or less than important, or less than enough if we do not become the uber “successful”! Thank you for this reminder of perspective! If my blog has one reader or one million, God can use it as a part of His pieces! So glad I stopped by from #TheWeekendBrew!
Blessings and smiles,
I am so glad you stopped by today! I agree that we can get distracted by wanting to be like the famous and successful and ignore the”smaller” but equally important ministry that God has given us.