A city in ruins is restored. A people who are lost rediscover their identity and purpose. This is the story of the book of Nehemiah.
The journey starts with the cupbearer to the king of Persia having a God given vision to restore Jerusalem. He not only dreams of this, but is prepared to sacrifice and risk to make this happen.
After casting his vision to the people of Jerusalem, the vision starts to become a reality. In Nehemiah 3 we get a description of who does what to rebuild the wall.
If you were to read chapter 3, what you find is the wall broken into 40 sections, with Nehemiah assigning different sections to different people. What is interesting about this list of the people who are assigned this task, is that in it you find men, women, clergy, laity, groups from different towns and different classes, as well as people from different trades.
What you have are representatives from just about every part of society. Doing this together. If there is one phrase which seems to be most common in this chapter, it’s “next to him” .
This is something that the clergy could not do by themselves. They are in there working, but they are next to everyone else. Everyone is involved in this. The work here is not carried out by one or two, but by all the people of God. All the old divisions seem irrelevant. The people are united in this.
This is not the story of the builders and the tradesmen of Jerusalem. This is the story of God working in and through all the people.
Who builds this wall? Goldsmiths, perfumers, clergy, farmers, and all manner of person. When God invites them into this vision what is interesting is that it is not on the basis of what they have done. They would not have experience as builders. He invites then on the basis of the potential he wants to release in them.
This is the nature of how God so often turns vision into reality. He invites His people. All of them, into His activity. You might have a past? You might feel ill equipped? Yet, God doesn’t necessarily invite us on the basis of past performance, but on the potential of what He can do in and through you.
When the people of Israel step up they start to discover the potential God has placed in them. God knows the potential in us. He sees the potential in a shepherd boy who will become a great king. He sees the potential in a fishermen who will lead the church. He see the potential in a teenage girl to raise his son. He sees the potential in you, in me, in us… He just waits for us to step into a God given vision.