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Cohesion


I was quite upset to have missed the 11th of May Movement Day learning community meeting with Movement.org. It was an opportunity to hear Seth Kim (Founder and Lead Pastor of HMCC, Hong Kong and Program Chair of Arise Asia) who works extensively with university students to raise up the next generation of world influencers. I would have loved to learn about the churches he has planted globally.

Likewise, Elizabeth Shehata an Australian-Egyptian who previously worked in business but now serves by working with young adults in Dubai. And lastly (but not least), Luke Greenwood. He is the Director of Steiger Europe in Poland and is passionate about evangelism and discipleship among alternative scenes of the Global Youth Culture.


Nehemiah 6:15 is an inspiring round-up of the building work initiated by Nehemiah, a leader: ''So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.''

But how did he rebuild the broken and burnt walls of ancient Jerusalem in a mere 52 days?

And how did he do it in such a way that it is recorded that ''When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.''


A closer look at the Chapters before reveals the traits and wisdom of Nehemiah:

a. he had a genuine concern for the welfare of the city of God (Jerusalem)

''...The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept....'' Nehemiah 1:3b, 4a

b. he viewed prayer as a first resort and possessed the right knowledge of YHWH.

''...For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:

“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments '' Nehemiah 1:4b, 5

c. Acts (Requests help from the King) in spite of his fear.

''...I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Nehemiah 2:2b,3,4

d. Discretely evaluates the work ahead of him. Nehemiah 2: 11 - 13. This brings to mind what the Lord Jesus said:

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Don’t you sit down and estimate the cost, to see if you have enough capital to complete it? If you don’t, then when you have laid the foundation but can’t finish, all the onlookers start making fun of you'' Luke 14:28-29

e. Roused up the sense of responsibility and cooperation in the leaders of the people in the land:

'' Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation that we are in—how Jerusalem is desolate and lies in ruins and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, and let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we will no longer be a disgrace.” Then I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they thoroughly supported the good work. '' Nehemiah 2: 17 - 18AMP


Chapter 3 goes on to list the divisions of the work and the names of the leaders who spear-headed the work, their clans and the extent of their labour. And in the face of opposition, this commitment did not dwindle. They just: '' ...prayed to our God, and ...set up a guard against them day and night.''

And ''...Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water''. Nehemiah 2: 9, 23


The work of building the temple of YHWH is not the job of one man. It is the responsibility of Jesus with us as co-labourers. However, as Paul said (and Nehemiah 3 shows), a lot depends on each man doing his own part with a passion for the one purpose: THE WHOLE BUILDING.


''You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.'' 1 Corinthians 3:3-9


It is important to see your work as part of the whole and exposure to other parts of the body of Christ is a big help with this.

Why is it important for a leader to be exposed?

  1. To gain proper insight into the workings of the living organism (the body of Christ) of which we are a part.

  2. To expand our thinking.

  3. To gain a more accurate estimation and orientation of oneself, place, position and relevance to the body.

  4. To grow in understanding of what YHWH is actually doing by seeing things within a larger context.

  5. To identify the areas where you can be a greater benefit to the Whole body.

  6. To see and celebrate the glory of the body to which you belong. This is a big confidence booster, especially when facing the day-to-day challenges of your own local context.

Exposure to the bigger and fuller picture gained from other parts of our body is necessary to foster a wider team vision, quell quarrels, balance egos, and expand narrowed mindsets. As the Apostle Paul said, ''For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away.'' Till we leave this planet, we might not fully see the complete picture but we do get closer to it by our exposure to one another. This is vital for cohesion in our building work.

 

''For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.'' Romans 12: 3 - 8



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