My pastor has been going through the book of Nehemiah, and so in preparation for this Sunday I read chapters 3-4 today, and several things stuck out to me:
- The variety of the people working. People living in other cities, leaders, merchants, goldsmiths. I loved how 3:12 mentioned that Shallum and his daughters repaired a section – that's my kind of women! But everybody recognized that it was their collective responsibility to build up this city. Likewise, though Christians are diverse in ethnicity, giftings, resources, and position, we are all given the same task, to build up the New Jerusalem (Eph. 2:19-22; Rev. 21:2-3, 9-14; 1 Cor. 3:9-13). Nobody is above this work; nobody is beneath it.
- They faced opposition stoutly. How often do we Christians back down easily concluding, "It must not have been God's will"? But the fact is, doing God's will guarantees opposition; the enemy will do all he can to derail God's kingdom. He will tempt us to sin, discourage us, afflict us in terrible ways to try to stop us from building well. Do we build with a weapon on us at all times, ready for whatever he may throw our way to draw on the truth and life breathed into us by our Savior? Do we stay in communication with each other so we are attentive when an attack happens and can rally to support each other? Do we keep ourselves clothed in prayer at all times?
So many times in TEN3 we have been discouraged. We've had financial difficulties, communication difficulties, members attacked in health or family matters, plans fall through. We draw much from the example of Nehemiah on apportioning the work, each doing what needs to be done, keeping alert for attacks, praying together regularly, and drawing on you, our prayer partners, to support us in the work as well. We continue to trust that by God's grace we may build up His temple by helping His servants in Africa to bring people to know and follow Christ Jesus, equipped them to be faithful workers too.
Let us press on until the city is finished!