Community, a word some might cringe at the sound of. I know being an introvert, a part of me is uncomfortable with the idea of being surrounded by people. If you’re anything like me then you probably prefer alone time, cozied up with a book and your favorite candle burning in the corner of the room. Mmm that sounds just right, doesn’t it?
I hate to break it to you though, we were not called to be loners locked away in our sacred “me-space.” While those personal moments of reflection and rejuvenation are much needed, we were called for so much more. We were created with others in mind. What good would it have been for God to speak humankind into existence if we ignored one another? That would defeat His entire purpose wouldn’t it?
I found an incredible amount of reassurance in this aspect of the Christian life in reading Nehemiah 11. A chapter composed almost entirely of names, what else was I to think? Some might glance over the countless names and I would be lying if I said I didn’t. In that very moment the Lord urged me to slow down and to appreciate every single name inked upon the page.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been looking at the book of Nehemiah and the perilous task at hand — rebuilding Jerusalem. I must say, while the construction of the wall was downright intimidating, these people were not faint of heart. Through blood, sweat and tears they accomplished their goal with the all-knowing guidance of God and their “die trying” attitude.
So now, in chapter 11 we have reached the part in the story where it’s time to repopulate the city. They’ve done the hard labor of building nearly from the ground up, so now they must decide who will live where.
“Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem, but the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while nine-tenths remained in the other cities. And the people blessed all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.”
Ultimately, this means whoever raised their hand and said, “I’ll go” committed their family to living within the city walls. In doing so, they sacrificed their chance at earning their own profit and owning land.
“The rest of Israel, of the priests and of the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, each on his own inheritance.”
Some might say they did this for the greater good of their people and honestly, I would agree. The “holy city” needed a larger population for several reasons, one being the more people within Jerusalem, the stronger they appeared. So a number of families, priests, craftsmen and soldiers made their homes within the wall.
So, what of those names? Each one represents a sacrifice. Every individual name recorded here serves as a reminder that it truly does take a village to make the dream work. God’s assignments are never meant to be carried by one person, instead He designed us to collaborate with one another. As much as we’d like to feel all high and mighty do-it-yourselfers, we’d be conflicting with God’s intentions.
My initial response to getting something done comes from a place of individualism but the Lord wants collectivism. He wants you and I to draw from one another because as we know, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matthew 18:20)
Oh, girl my heart is overflowing with excitement at the idea of working with God’s people. Like the communities of Jerusalem came together for one sole purpose, I want to gather with fellow sons and daughters of Christ to make His name known. We aren’t fulfilling God’s intent for creating us if we don’t come together with ideas for furthering His Kingdom.
So next time your church offers community groups or some type of a get-together, pray about it. Rather than saying no right away, ask the Lord, “Is this something you’d like me to make myself available to?” I promise He’ll answer you and oh, how He loves when you ask Him for His opinion. Who knows, months from now you might even thank yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone.
Get out there daughter and chase after your God-given destiny alongside other women who share your same heart’s desire. Leave your book at home and blow out that candle. It’s time to walk hand-in-hand with the people we call our heavenly family.
Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez