Monday, July 5, 2010

Building Together

"For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?" (1st Corinthians 12:14-19)

In the third chapter of Nehemiah we find an account of the rebuilding of the city walls around Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians and the people carried away to Babylon. In 445 BC Nehemiah led a third group of exiles back from the captivity to rebuild the city walls. The Temple had been rebuilt around 516 BC, but the walls and gates remained broken, which left Jerusalem vulnerable to attack. In a culture based upon honor, broken walls were also a blight on the city's reputation. Nehemiah was led by the Lord to see that the walls were restored.

Nehemiah completed the restoration of the walls in under two months. In Nehemiah, chapter three, he records the various people who worked the wall. It was true team effort. Instead of having a select group of wall-builders who did all the work, different groups of people worked on sections of the wall. Nehemiah chronicles the work counter-clockwise around the wall.

Eliashab, the High priest, and some fellow priests rebuilt the sheep gate.
Men of Jericho worked next to them to rebuild their section of the wall.
The sons of Hassenaah rebuilt the fish gate.
Further down, Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah, repaired the old gate.
Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired part of the wall and the tower of the furnaces.
Shallum and his daughters worked on a portion of the wall. His father, Halohesh, ruled half of Jerusalem. While some nobles refused to work, they pitched right in to help.
On the south side of the city we find Shallun, the son Colhehez, the ruler of Mizpah, repairing the fountain gate.
A group of priests lived near the horse gate and each repaired the section near his home.
A group of goldsmiths and merchants fixed the walls from the northwest corner to the sheep gate.

I haven't included everyone listed by Nehemiah but I'm sure you get the point. The wall was a collective effort. People from all walks of life worked on it -- men, women, priests, Levites, merchants and goldsmiths. Sons of rulers worked alongside regular folk.

It took everyone to get the job done. In First Corinthians, chapter 12, Paul compares the church to the human body. He makes the point that every part much do its part for the body to function correctly. Everyone doesn't have the same purpose. It's when everybody is fulfilling their individual part that the whole works the way God would have it to work. We all have something to give and a part to play in what God is doing. Don't sell yourself short. Don't look at your own limitations but at the greatness of God!