make a list

The third chapter of Nehemiah is a slow chapter to read. The book itself is about a project to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to rebuild the identity of the people who live there. This chapter is a list of who built what section.

Here’s a taste:

Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zaccur son of Imri built next to them.The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place.

And it keeps going. This family and that. People from this town and that. This group of merchants and that. It’s like watching a video of some building project where the camera stops at every single person.

It’s boring video for everyone except those people. For the people shown, the video is a reminder that they were involved in something that mattered. It’s a way to say to their kids and coworkers that this project was important.

Nehemiah (and God) take the time to make a list of all the people who worked hard at great risk to rebuild the wall.

As I pondered this list, I wondered what would happen if those of us who are leaders sat down and wrote a Nehemiah 3 list of the people involved in a project we’ve led. For those of us who have been involved in a once-in-a-lifetime project, what if we wrote the paragraph about us and about the people who built the section on either side of us?

5 thoughts on “make a list

  1. Frank Reed

    Wow, Jon.

    I am in Nehemiah myself in a ‘year through the Bible’ reading plan. I found myself doing some heavy skimming at this point. I wouldn’t want anyone to skim over me.

    What a great thought to give some recognition to people who invest parts of their lives into something significant like a mission trip etc etc

    Life is about stories. The more we tell the stories of lives lived in service to Christ the more chance people might get an introduction to Him themselves. Now wouldn’t that be something to write about!

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    1. Jon Swanson

      We have a team in Haiti right now. A bunch of people sewed 215 dresses for them to take. It has been fun to watch the sewing people take ownership of the trip. An amazing thing.

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  2. Men of One Accord

    I have written about these names and at first I too skimmed over them. The Lord said take a second look, as I did, he said these men did the work I called them to do. That is why their names have been recorded FOREVER. When we complete the task our Lord has called us to do our names will also be recorded FOREVER and the work we have done. Our Lord is proud of our work we have done in His Name. This is not a rebuke But I am excited that our Lord not only records our name in the Lamb’s Book of Life He also has a book about our work. After all He is our Father and He Loves to talk about His children. AMEN!

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