Summary: Teamwork is essential in doing ministry
Working Together to Fix Broken Places
Rodeo Road Baptist Church
September 7, 2014
Disclaimer: Each sermon in this series on Nehemiah was written with both commentary help and referencing from time to time information from sermons and illustration found on Sermon Central. In most cases I tried to be faithful in giving credit to the author but I acknowledge that I was not consistent in that endeavor. So any similarity to other older posted sermons on this web site are due in part to the quality of their work and the timelessness of the truth they shared originally. There was no intentional intent to use without credit any material in these sermons that were first delivered by other pastors.
Nehemiah 2: 17 - 19 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king.”
I. Welcome friends who have a common goal to fix broken places
Larry Crabb, in his book, The Safest Place on Earth, writes, “A central task of community is to create a place that is… safe enough for each of us to reveal our brokenness” (p. 11).
3: 6-12 “Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Gate of Yeshanah. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River. Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired. Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired. Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath- moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.”
This passage shows how people working together can accomplish more than if just one person tried to do all the work. Watch this phrase: "next to him," "next to them," "after him," and "after them." These expressions are recorded 28 times in this chapter! The Lord didn’t need a thousand masons and carpenters to rebuild the wall he needed ordinary people who were willing to work. People from a wide variety of different backgrounds, trades, and localities gathered to work on the wall. The rulers and priests worked together with regular people, some who even lived 10-15 miles away.
Also, in this chapter is the word "section." It is used 13 times. The wall was divided and people were assigned a certain section to work on. Likewise, just as no one person could construct the whole wall by himself, so too, you and I are called to work in a certain part of the kingdom. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, "Why is that there?" Alex Haley answered, "Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words & think that they are wonderful, & begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post & remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help."
II. Focus on the most important first
Notice Nehemiah highlighted the work on the gates. (Nehemiah 3:1,3,6,13,14,15,28) He highlights the gates first, the walls second, and the finishing touches last. Why the gates? All the people would come and go through the gates. It will be where the most obvious success is appearing. It is also where the greatest security is being accomplished.
If you know anything about Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University, he talks about the “debt snowball.” This is where you first decide to strictly stay on a budget, not creating any new debt. You continue to pay all you debt as before, except you focus on your smallest debt and pay it off first. Once that is paid off that debt you role over what you were paying to the next debt, adding it to whatever payment you were making on this next smallest debt. So if you were making $25.00 per month on your smallest debt and $50.00 to your next smallest debt, once the smallest is paid you now pay $75.00 on the next smallest.