The Need For Each Other
A daily devotion for August 7th
28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. 30 Next to him, Hananiah son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. Next to them, Meshullam son of Berekiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. 31 Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; 32 and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs.
Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. (Nehemiah 3:29)
One commentator has said,
God is a great believer in putting names down. That is true. There are many chapters like this in the Scriptures. But that should really encourage us. It means that God has not forgotten our names either. He loves to record the names of obscure people.
The central teaching of a chapter like this is that in putting lives back together, we need and must seek help from each other. This is a great chapter about cooperation. It illustrates the New Testament truth concerning the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and other chapters teach that believers in Christ are part of a worldwide body made up of many members. We belong to each other, and so we are to help one another and bear one another's burdens. This is portrayed in a very dramatic way throughout this chapter.
We learn from the New Testament that there are two things you cannot say any longer when you become a Christian. The first is,
You do not need me. Everyone in the body of Christ needs everyone else. The second thing is,
I do not need you. You do need others! It is the awareness of that truth that makes a church a living, warm, vital, loving fellowship.
In the summoning of the people of Jerusalem to rebuild their walls and their gates, we learn that all the people were involved in the project. That portrays for us an important principle of the New Testament: that the ministry of the church belongs to everyone in the congregation. Often people think that only the pastor and the hired staff are to do the work of evangelizing, teaching, counseling, healing the hurts of others, and serving the needy. Because we have followed that practice far too long, the church is in trouble all over the world. But the ministry belongs to the whole congregation. I do not know any truth more important for the accomplishing of God's work than that. Yet in church after church, it is difficult to get people to understand that. You have the great privilege of reaching out in your own neighborhood and doing the work of the ministry there. Where churches do not understand that, one finds a very distorted condition. People have no ministry of their own and, therefore, little excitement or interest in life.
Lord, thank You for those You have placed around me for support and encouragement. Teach me that not only do I need You, but I need others if I am to have the impact You want me to have.
Life Application: Where is it wonderful to seek help from others instead of trying to be independent of them? Which people does the ministry of the Church belong to?
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