Summary: God uses all kinds of people to do His work. You have a place in His church and your contribution is valuable. With such diversity in the team, it is senseless to compete and compare; we are called to cooperate. We serve to glorify God, He alone is our
What we learn last week:
?What God originates, He orchestrates.
?Expect challenges when doing God’s will.
?Don’t fear difficulties. Choose to look at them with eyes of faith, and not fear.
Last Tuesday, I read these words from Bill Hybels?The Power of a Whisper (p.110-111):
“Don’t ever buy into the idea that everything God prompts His followers to do will be uncomplicated or low-cost. Sometimes God asks His children to carry heavy loads, as He did with the apostle Paul. But even ?and often especially ?under those backbreaking burdens, God’s purposes are fulfilled. When our (whispered) task is tough, the reward of knowing we’ve helped further His Kingdom and bettered our broken world is all the sweeter.
“If you ever find yourself with a difficult assignment, why not try giving God thanks for trusting you with something that needs your particular strength. He assigns tasks to the right person every time. He did it throughout history, and He still does it today. As you walk whatever potholed path He has asked you to walk, never forget the tough journey that Jesus Himself once made. …Christ was asked to bear the most difficult assignment of all ?to lay down His life as a redemptive sacrifice for humankind. He chose to obey. And because of His obedience, you and I enjoy our redemption today.?
[Read Neh 3:1-3, 8-12, glance through 17-21, read 31-32.]
?The list starts with the Sheep Gate, going anti-clockwise and ends with the Sheep Gate.
?It has a total of 38 names and 42 working groups, like a foreman’s list of the assignment of tasks.
?Every section was covered, with the men of Tekoa (v.5, 27) and Meshullam son of Berekiah (v.4, 31)) taking on yet another sections.
God Uses All Kinds of People
?We have the high priest leading a team of priests (v.1) and the Levites (v.17, 22); they were professionals serving in the Temple but now building walls.
?We have some rulers from different districts, city officials with authority and position, now building walls.
?And Jews from towns further away, like Jericho, Tekoa, Gibeon, Mizpah, Zanoah, Beth Hakkerem, Beth Zur, and Keilah. Some as far as 20km away!
We have people who are not accustomed to such work, even goldsmith and perfume-makers (v.8), and merchants (v.32).
?Even women were involved. Verse 12 says Shallum, a ruler, worked with the help of his daughters.
?So we see this massive group of diverse people - from the religious to the ordinary, from rulers to peasants, the skilled and unskilled, professionals and the untrained, men and women, all working together, side by side!
You see phrases like "next to him," "next to them," “next section,?appearing 28 times in this chapter!
?When you are building a wall, this is what you need to do. Side by side.
?It must be side by side. You cannot be doing up your wall somewhere else.
?My part of the wall must eventually link up with yours. They must match!
So they were all dependent on one another.
?The chain is only as good as its weakest link. If one section fails, if there is a gap in the wall, it makes the whole effort quite pointless.
?All the sections of the wall must be restored, and it would not be possible without the cooperation of every one.
Isn’t this the picture of the Church that Paul paints for us in 1 Cor 12?
?You have a place in God’s church. Every one has a part to play.
?You have a contribution to make, and your contribution is valuable.
?Every member, as different as he or she is, comes together to build up the Body of Christ.
Each man had an area of responsibility, so your contribution is valuable.
?And since we are all different, in training, gifting and experience, it makes no sense for us to compete or compare with one another.
?It would not make sense for the priests to compete with the goldsmiths or the perfume-makers to compare themselves with the merchants.
?Why would they want to do that?
We will never get beyond how well we are getting along. In order words, how well you get along will determine how well your ministry will be, or your project, your work.
?The work was successful because they worked together ‘side by side? cooperating with one another!
?Unity was their strength, and it will be ours too. We don’t compete and compare, but we COOPERATE.
In everything we do here, we must learn to cooperate.
?This is always a challenge because we are all made differently, with so diverse skills set, experiences and personalities. But this is precisely how God works.
You saw the show THE RED CLIFF (chi4 bi4) on eve and CNY night on Channel 8. The soldiers put their shields together and formed something like a moving ‘tank?