There is this thing about walls especially those made of stone or brick. They have to lock together or they won't be strong.
Each family, each person important, rich, poor, unknown, named, adult and child, worked on their part of the wall. BUT each part had to connect to all the others!
Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters. Nehemiah 3:12 (NIV)
Think about our lives, our families, our communities. We all have our own walls to build or rebuild and yet if we are to be truly a part of the fabric of believers and a witness to our communities we have to have our work connect together!
They weren't building with new freshly cut stones! These were stones broken down by war, weather and time. This wasn't a bunch of professionals either. These were families working together knowing their walls protected them, their walls united them, their walls were part of their world. Taking the stones they could find and carry, the ones that could be used, these families in about 52 days built up the walls to half their height.
They were mocked and laughed at and threatened. They were told it couldn't work, that's too much effort. They were told they were crazy to try. They kept on rebuilding their walls. They kept at it. They posted guards. They probably sang. Shared food and water. They helped carry loads. Small children, daughters and sons, parents and grand parents, Jews and aliens. Working together. Their work fitting together.
When I read that I had to go back and read it again. It amazed me. What a cooperative effort!
Sisters and brothers - can we not rebuild the walls of our relationships as believers? Can we not find ways to fit together, to work together so that we have a testimony of loving cooperation in the Lord?
They worked together. No one stood up and said, "Your wall isn't good enough!" or "Your section isn't Godly enough." No one knocked anyone down or their part of the wall either. I wondered why. It is human nature to be competitive, to want the best wall, the best grade, the best job, the best look.
So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. Nehemiah 4:6 (NIV)
They were working together to restore something precious to them all! What is more precious to us than our testimony and the loving Grace of our Lord? The builders were not named to glorify their building but to acknowledge that they worked and built. There was no vanity. There was no my section of wall is greater than yours. No one celebrated that their part was bigger, better, faster, smarter, had newer stones or that they put more sweat into it. It was celebrated that they all worked together.
Shouldn't our church and community of believers have that same attitude of rebuilding walls together as we minister not to ourselves but to the community that needs to hear the Gospel most? Shouldn't our example be one of a people of faith working together? Each wall piece was slightly unique but alike enough that it fit together, that it was strong together.
I believe that we can be a light in the darkness and that God doesn't really care what our lamp looks like. As long as the walls hold together and our light shines with the glory of Jesus and the grace of God.