In the 5th century BC, Nehemiah heard the news that would change his life. The walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed. For any Jew, this was distressing news; for Nehemiah it was unacceptable.
Without a doubt, many sleepless nights followed. But, tossing and turning wasn’t enough for Nehemiah and soon he was heading to Jerusalem with official papers in his hands, ready to rebuild.
What keeps you up at night?
What injustice breaks your heart? What wrong do you feel compelled to make right? What stories make you cry? What problems are unacceptable?
What has God uniquely created you to build?
On Jesus’ last day on earth, He left us with our heavenly commission. Having been raised from the dead, He announced His ultimate authority and promptly passed the official papers to His followers, telling them to go into all the world and make disciples.
And the task of rebuilding began.
For more than 2000 years, believers everywhere have found their place along the wall, picked up their tools and started to make right what had been spoiled.
Believers like Matt, an American that I met the other day. He is rebuilding in Harrow, London in a community of South Asians. It is a modest ministry and you won’t read about it in a Christian magazine. But with hospitality and sacrificial love, Matt and his family are sharing God’s love and beautifully repairing what is broken.
Or like the dear Italian family who spoke at our church recently. This couple, along with their 10-year-old son, are building the Kingdom in Niger, West Africa. The work is dangerous and fruit is slow-growing, but they are faithfully working with joy and courage and God’s Kingdom is being established soul by soul.
Some Kingdom-builders use medicine and bandages; others use computers and spreadsheets. Some teach kids, some feed the poor and some faithfully pray. Some are called to spend their lives faithfully working on a small part of the wall, while others are given the grace and ability to rebuild large sections.
In the Book of Hebrews, chapter three, the author describes a house that is being built. It is God’s house, God’s kingdom, God’s family. It is that house that we are called to build.
It is more than a nice project; it is what we are here for.
It is more than renovation or redecorating. It is spiritual warfare.
If we haven’t already, it is time for us to find our place along the wall. It is time to serve, not out of habit or selfish ambition, but because it really matters. There are people who are hurting and lost and broken and forgotten. There are needs that you and I have been created to meet; there are parts of God’s house that we are called to build.
So, let’s discover our God-given passions, the things that make us toss and turn at night, and let’s get to work. Let’s build with faithfulness and humility, not comparing our calling with anyone else. Let us honour those building beside us and pray for those building across the world. Let us encourage other builders in our community (there is plenty of broken wall for anyone who has the heart to build so competition between builders is just silly). Let us build with obedience and faith, commissioned by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
And let us build with courage and with joy, knowing that what we are building is strong and beautiful and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.