Jump Start # 3449
Nehemiah 3:28 “Above the Horse Gate the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house.”
I’m teaching a class on how the Old Testament finishes. It’s a look at three books, Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi. We are walking through one book a month. This month we are in Nehemiah. What a great, great study of leadership, staying with things, overcoming opposition and prayer.
As Nehemiah inspires the people to get building the walls around the city, two fun facts jump out. First, as chapter three begins, we find the high priest with his hands in the dirt, building the wall. Then sprinkled all throughout the chapter are various officials. Everyone got involved. No one was too good for this. And, it started with the leader, the high priest. Had he been sitting in a chair, in the shade, watching everyone else working hard, resentment and ill feelings would have risen up. Instead, when someone paused to wipe his sweaty forehead, he could see the high priest over there working hard. On a work day, I’ve seen elders and preachers, pulling weeds, cleaning bathrooms, and setting a great example.
The other fun fact is taken from our verse today. Nehemiah stationed people in front of their own homes.
In front of his house, is how our verse states it. That expression is used again in this chapter. There is something about making the wall stand straight and tall and being very secure, when I realize my house is on the other side. Had someone been working on the other part of the wall far from his house, he may not have the same dedication and detail as it is in front of his house. At the end of the day, when he went home, his family may have talked about seeing him outside their door, working hard. When his wife asked, “Do you feel that we are safe?” He could assure her, yes, because I made it very strong there. It’s in front of our home.
Have you ever thought about that expression spiritually? Building in front of your house?
First, in many ways the congregation you attend is in front of your house. Not physically, but symbolically and especially spiritually. The kingdom of God is large. It’s everywhere. I may not be overly concerned how things are going in middle Africa, but I am in my home congregation. There is where I attend. There is where I am a member. There is where I worship. There is where I am fed, led and encourage. So, more than any other place, I am going to make it strong in front of my house. I am praying more for my congregation than any other place. I am connected to the people in my congregation more than any other place. I am invested in them. My heart is with them.
Don’t dare try to slip something by that isn’t true or helpful. It’s in front of my house. I’ll be watching. Don’t be hurting these people. They are in front of my house. I’ll come running. Don’t be talking trash about the things in front of my house. If you do you’ll get a response. This is in front of my house and I’m going to make sure it’s secure and right.
Second, the Bible classes my children are in, are right in front of my house. Like public school, I’m going to meet the teachers and talk with them. I’m asking them once in a while how my child is doing. Is he goofing off? Is he making it hard to teach? Is he participating? I want to know. It’s in front of my house. I wonder if we put more focus upon the elementary public schools than we do our Bible classes.
Third, all the wall around Jerusalem is important. If the wall was only built in front of my house, and that was it, the enemy could walk around that part and still attack. I’m helping, encouraging, and doing what I can to get all the wall built. All the wall is necessary, but I’m particularly interested in what happens in front of my house. All the kingdom is important, but I especially am interested in what happens in my congregation. It’s in my own congregation that fellowship and accountability take place.
Sadly, I feel that some do not know what is going on right in front of their house. They don’t have a clue what is going on in the congregation, and worse, they don’t really care. They come for self and leave after they have had enough. Storms could be brewing and they would never know. The poison of error could be spreading and they would not even recognize it. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is welcomed and greeted like anyone else. They do not know what is going on in front of their houses.
Nehemiah was brilliant. He understood that each builder was taking ownership of what was being done, because it was in front of his house. It was more than just a job. They were making things safe for home.
When we embrace that idea, things start stepping up in the ole’ congregation.