Next To Them

Next To Them

09 October 2011

Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 3-4; Luke 23


1 Then Eliashib the high priest and the other priests started to rebuild at the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set up its doors, building the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and the Tower of Hananel. 2 People from the town of Jericho worked next to them, and beyond them was Zaccur son of Imri. (Nehemiah 3:1-2 NLT)

I like this chapter of Nehemiah’s story. This is the list of the names of the people who actually worked at rebuilding the wall. It starts with the high priest and his staff working at the Sheep Gate and progresses all the way around the city with the goldsmiths and the merchants doing the final section between the Upper Room and the Sheep Gate where they connected with the priests.

A couple of things about this project:
• It was truly a team effort. Everyone linked with the people working next door so there were no gaps left in the wall.
• Everyone involved had “skin in the game.” They worked opposite their homes or their workplaces. Even the “out-of-towners” had a specific area of involvement.
• The team members were already in place. They only awaited a leader to present a plan and mobilize the team.

Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall is the classic “Leadership, Teamwork, and Overcoming Opposition” story. Almost any lesson about good leadership, working together as a team, trusting God and working hard, staying with it till the work is done – almost any good leadership lesson can be based in this story.

If the task is too big for one person, it takes a team. In teamwork, each person has to link their work with the person next to them. If everyone builds their own piece without linking with those working next to them, it’s not a wall, but a bunch of disconnected silos. Anyhow, good job, Nehemiah! And good job everyone on the team for not only doing your part, but linking with the person working next to you!


Father, Please help me to better appreciate the people who are building next to me. Help me to help others link their work with the bigger task, to see how it all fits together. Help us to build a wall for the city and not just towers for ourselves. Amen.

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