Not faceless . . .

Vol.5, No. 29 – August 2, 2020

Effectively handling the Problems Life BringsNehemiah 3:1-32

Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate. –Nehemiah 3:13

One of the sad things in our culture is that it has become depersonalized. This project pushed by Nehemiah, is presented in a fashion that is face-less. People can be addressed by Twitter; Facebook, #People of the Wall, LinkedIn, or whatever is current in use. You do not need to actually see them . . . or do you?

While there are a few names in this chapter, by-and-large people working on the walls, gates, etc., remain unknown. In our culture, remaining faceless leads to a lack of self-worth, and identification. It is a progression in our culture—downward. We even call it racism. If this occurs, we are thought of as a nobody.

This calls for an illustration. The IRS knows me as a holder of a Social Security number. They do not really know me. My health insurance (and supplemental) knows me by a horrifically long ID number; they do not really know me. To a Georgia State Patrol Officer (should I get pulled over) I am a number captured on a magnetic strip. The officer might call me by name, but that officer does not really know me. Retail stores and Amazon ID me by my credit card, they do not really know me. Even the lady at the bank calls me by name, but she does not really know me, and she is too busy to be introduced. She is just counting the money and clicking keys on her computer.

I am only a number, a file, or it could be a fingerprint, but I do not think I have ever had a fingerprint taken. I will have to think that through.

Be careful you do not miss what is here in chapter three. It is easy to get lost in a labyrinth of lumber, plebeians, stone, and smells of a Dung Gate (or Fish Gate, ewe), along with the bags of bolts and nuts of a rebuilding project.

In addition, to read chapter three is an exercise in the discipline of pronunciation. If you do not read all thirty-two verses, you miss the potpourri of men and women. In addition, there are countless Israelites on the project, that do not have their names mentioned. The focus is on teams, not its leader (whoever said that this was the latest way to function in organizations)? There is a difference in social status, geographic origin, and even professional occupation; however, the bigger point is unity, purpose, and commitment.

And . . . every man and woman is deeply loved by God, the Creator.

There are forty-two working units: there are priests, the Levites, nobles, rulers, slaves (Nethinims), servants that hew wood, and those drawing water. The model is teamwork. The great success is that thousands of people working together, made up of teams that provide for their individual team successes, know that every person in the project is important. Every person is needed; every person is important!

The project is so organized, that the progression of the chapter goes counter-clockwise around Jerusalem, starting at the northeast corner. These are volunteers, but there is absolutely nothing sloppy in their work ethic. Trowels, shovels, sore backs, blistered hands, sweat, blood – many hands make the work lighter.

It is that way in the church. Instead of hiring more and more staff, how much better off and effective would the church be if everyone participated in the ministries of the church?

Life Application

Organizations are ready to ask for your money, your skills, or your influence. God asks for you! God asked for Nehemiah and got him. Then Nehemiah asks for a band of people who would commit to the impossible. He got them. Nehemiah is the kind of leader that exemplifies the values, attitudes, expectations, beliefs, and choices that make a team do great things. Nehemiah exuded belief that each of his followers is important. He gets what he asks for.

Ask yourself, “Is your church like that?”

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder, I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. –1 Corinthians 3:9-10

Handling effectively the problems and opportunities, that life brings!

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

August 2, 2020

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