Building Your Piece of the Wall

Note: This reflection continues a series based on the Bible book of Nehemiah. (3 remaining)

Despite a seemingly endless list of names, Nehemiah 3 is one of the most fascinating chapters in the Bible. It conveys an integral part of the rebuilding story. Taking a closer look, it’s a comprehensive roster of the different groups who participated in the construction of Jerusalem’s wall.

The entire Jerusalem community came together to complete a project that demanded everyone’s contributions. Each group was assigned a different section of the wall according to their occupation or family unit. Notice the phrase that is repeated over and over. “And next to him [or them]” is repeated sixteen times.

“Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate . . . and next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur. the son of Imri built. . .” (3:1, 2) Goldsmiths, perfume-makers, rulers and residents each had a specific task–and God made sure their names were recorded for the ages.

The shopkeepers, the tradesman, the merchants, the business professionals, even the spiritual leaders worked shoulder to shoulder. Working together for the same goal is both encouraging and strengthening. Halfway through the project, the author declared, “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work” (4:6).

Nehemiah provides a snapshot of God’s desire that people function cooperatively for the common good. By casting a vision and assigning everyone a piece of the wall, the peoples’ buy-in and focus was intensified. I’m amazed that they rebuilt the walls in fifty-two days! (Sometimes it takes our company months to mobilize our contractors to begin a project).

I believe we can work to create the same kind of bond that those shopkeepers, tradesmen and spiritual leaders experienced 2,500 years ago. Every industry has been built by a set of interdependent companies—each supplying products or services necessary for the greater good of their community. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-person shop or a large company, we all need each other!

In Creation God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit formed the Universe in community. As Christians we too can grow our businesses in community, to benefit our communities. We have the potential to cultivate an “ecosystem” where needs are met and problems are solved by employing each other’s ingenuity, skill, diligence, products and services.

My small real estate development and advisory company depends on many different professionals: the brokerage community, engineers, surveyors, geotechs, architects, construction workers, city planners, bankers, etc. Together we strive to create places where individuals, organizations and communities can flourish. That’s my section of the marketplace wall. What’s yours?

Serving Him with you in the marketplace,

David Atchison

Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that I am part of something much bigger than myself. Thank you for reminding me that I am part of a community, even when my specific role doesn’t appear to make a large impact. I confess that I can be tempted to take a “lone ranger” approach to my business. But You designed our world to need every human being to play a part in accomplishing the most essential needs and the best things. I want to be part of that kind of community. Amen.

“Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” – Paul Ryan