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?