Have you ever mobilized a large group of people to accomplish a major project? Before its kick-off, Nehemiah evaluated the task at hand and created a shared mission with the people for collaboration.
What did Nehemiah do when he arrived at Jerusalem? He made a careful, conscious, probing examination of the wall (Neh 2:13-15). He developed a master plan for the whole process of construction and determined the necessary personnel and building materials. When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
After Nehemiah had done all his homework and made all his inspections, he was finally ready to discuss the need of rebuilding the city wall. He stood in front of the city council and said “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Neh 2:17). Nehemiah did not try to hide the hard facts. He extended the invitation to rebuild the wall and gave the people a reason for accepting it. Nehemiah did not promise any material incentives like a week at the Dead Sea, and the people said, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work (Neh 2:18). The key to this good work was embedded (and underlined) in the verses: we and us.
The rebuilding project was a shared mission, not merely Nehemiah’s dream but their collective desire. They understood the need with their minds. They agreed to the plan with their hearts. They were ready to work with their strength. This good work was hard work which required a lot of effort, and everybody had a role to play in the community. Some were to build certain gates; others, a section of the wall. Some were to build in the south; others, up north (Neh 3). Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work (Neh 2:18).
What can we learn from Nehemiah and the Jewish remnants? We need thoughtful planning and committed collaboration to build our community! Is it our shared mission, or merely a slogan or statement hanging on a wall, to creating a safe, caring, respectful and welcoming community where learners develop their knowledge, skills, integrity, and discernment, growing in love for God and service to humanity? Do we understand with our minds and agree with our hearts what this undertaking costs? Are we ready to roll up our sleeves and work with our strength to pay for the price? Is everyone actively involved or taking the backseat? Would it be our collective response? Let us start rebuilding. So we begin this good work!
Swindoll, C. R. (1990). Hand me another brick. Nashville, TN: Nelson.