by: Jimmie Miller
“So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled near Jerusalem.….” (-Nehemiah 7:73)
“We have cast sacred lots to determine when—at regular times each year—the families of the priests, Levites, and the common people should bring wood to God’s Temple to be burned on the altar of the Lord our God, as is written in the Law. “(- Nehemiah 10:34)
The town’s people of Judah, in Nehemiah, were referred to as common people here in the New Living Translation of the bible. But just how “common” were they? If you’re familiar with the book of Nehemiah, you know the so called “common people” built a massive, three mile long wall around their city as well as exiled everyone else who was not of Jewish decent, all within 52 days. Not to mention, they were surrounded by opposition and possible militant attacks. Was this accomplished by mere coincidence? Or maybe it was accomplished by one great leader, like Nehemiah? No. This was all in the hands of God for His divine glory, but I would like to take a moment to study the “common” people of Judah and God’s strategy for them.
Although they had been defeated for many decades and their wall lay in rubble for over 100 years, they never completely lost their faith in God. A piece of their culture still remained after being defeated by three major world powers at the time; Assyria, Babylonia, and Persia. Judah was defeated but not broken and when Nehemiah was added to the equation, it filled them with great joy to know that God had come back to rebuild the city; ultimately restoring them back to Him. It was prayer and strategic leadership that allowed them to accomplish this great work. But what exactly was the “strategic plan” that God ordained to rebuild His wall and restore His chosen people?
“Above the Horse Gate, the priests repaired the wall. Each one repaired the section immediately across from his own house.” (- Nehemiah 3:28)
This is our answer to God’s strategy for restoring His children and the wall. Each common person does the work placed right in front of them across from his own house. Ensuring a strong wall and creating a Godly community. Although common, the people were rare. The people of Judah stood up for their culture, acted on God’s plan, and executed it with little hesitation.
Additionally, I believe this is also God’s strategy for discipleship. The entire body of Christ is not called to mission trips across seas. Rather, the majority of us are called to disciple the people in our own neighborhoods. God’s master plan in this situation wasn’t to send people across the land and build a wall in Samaria first, but to establish the wall in front of every common man’s door step. This strategy also assured that the wall would be strong enough to withstand an attack.
What if we took this approach with discipleship? Build the walls of the kingdom right in front of your home and strengthen the believers on your neighborhoods. I believe this would create an awesome community of believers, strong for the body of Christ; which might also look a lot like the church we see in Acts. So to every “common” person reading this blog, I challenge you to step outside your door and rebuild the portion of the wall set before you.