If we’ve ever needed a model for how we should work together, we need it now. With tensions high and more unrest in our nation, we could use a change in perspective when it comes to working together. And one of the greatest examples is found in the historic rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artexerxes when he learned that the walls to Jerusalem were destroyed. A city with no walls was a city that was in a state of deterioration. When Nehemiah hears of this, the king grants him favor to return to Jerusalem to help rebuild the city walls.
Chapter 3 of the book of Nehemiah describes the people and the work that was done to rebuild the city walls. Though the chapter seems to be a simple repeat of names and work accomplished, in just the first four verses we see some key elements that are necessary for us to work together successfully.
First, we see that they embraced God’s purpose as a common goal. Whenever we have personal goals and agendas that don’t align with the common goal, we’re never successful together. We must be willing to put aside our preferences and see the bigger picture. The workers of the wall understood this well.
Notice that their focus was simply on rebuilding the wall, and they each took their place in helping to do so without complaint. No personal agendas or motives, just rebuilding the wall. This also works in our families; a family’s success is seen when everyone in the household is working together towards a common agreed upon goal.
But also notice another key element in their rebuilding…how the leaders lead by example. Verse 1 of chapter 3 states that Eliashib the high priests and his fellow priests worked to rebuild the Sheep Gate. Here we see that the people in leadership, the high priest and fellow priests, led by example in their hands-on work in rebuilding the wall.
Great leadership is a key component to the success of any group of people. If we’re going to see change in our families, our cities, our churches, and even our nation, it starts with authentic passionate leaders who lead by example and not just words only. The time has come for us to not just be people of words, but rather people of action.
Lastly, we see that everyone had a part to play…did you notice that? Verses 3-4 tell us that some positioned the beams, some put on doors, some fastened bolts, while others were doing repairs. The bottom line is that they all had something to do!
Notice that no job was emphasized more than another, no one looked down on others based on the work they did, but that even the smallest of tasks were mentioned and necessary for the successful rebuilding of the wall. And verse 4 indicates that they worked side-by-side…unselfish work without any competition amongst them. This is the model picture of success.
As a people, church, and nation, we must put aside our differences and work together for God’s common purpose for our lives. As you self-reflect on your life, what areas of your life seem selfish and unyielding to God’s greater common good? What perspectives do you hold that hinder the working together for a godly good? Whatever they may be, allow the story of Nehemiah to inspire you to think and act differently as we rebuild.
Stay safe, be healthy, be blessed!