First Mennonite Morton



  • Jan11Tue

    A Family Project

    January 11, 2022 Aaron Yoder
    Filed Under:
    Faith, Commune Together, Leadership

    NEHEMIAH 2:17, 18b

    “[Nehemiah] said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.’And they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” 


    Most days, our children don’t care about how our family meals get made.  Now, don’t get me wrong. Our children are all tremendous helpers, especially the older two.  Yet most of the time, they show little initiative to get involved in the process.  There is one exception.  Whenever homemade pizza is on the menu, each love to participate!  One will form the dough. Another will cook the hamburger.  Others will grate cheeses and set out various toppings.  Homemade pizza night is almost guaranteed to be a family project.

    As a parent, it’s a great joy to see everyone working together in the kitchen.  In a similar way, our Heaven Father is greatly pleased when His people come together for a common, God-exalting purpose, like strengthening the community of faith which bears His name.

    As the book of Nehemiah begins, it’s easy to see that this kind of collective effort had stalled out in Jerusalem.  The temple had been rebuilt (Ezra 6:15) but much of the city still lay in ruins and a vicious cycle of oppression and poverty was unaddressed within the community.  Great work had already been done, but there was much more work yet to do. 

    When Nehemiah arrived, the Lord set it in his heart to begin the project of restoring city walls.  At first, the work began with just a small group of committed individuals, but soon many others got involved (read Nehemiah 3-4).  Merchants, city leaders, regional leaders, priests and even children set aside their own personal endeavors and/or vocation in order to rebuild Jerusalem.  What a joyous moment it must have been for the Lord to observe His people working together to strengthen their community!

    God’s people have a similar task now.  Instead of building city walls, we are instructed to ‘build up’ the Body of Christ into spiritual unity, maturity and Christ-exalting love.  This is done when each believer in the local congregation is actively growing in the Lord and eagerly serving one another with their spiritual gifts. 

    A helpful summary of how spiritual gifts function can be found in Ephesians 4:11-12.  “[The Lord] gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”  Consider how you typically respond in a group setting.  Do you like to…cast vision (A), speak the honest truth (P), get others involved (E), show empathetic love (S), or explain difficult concepts (T)?”  Each believer has a strength in one of these areas and rarely does one person have them all.  Therefore, collective efforts are necessary. 

    As we seek to strengthen the community of believers at FMC in 2022, consider how the Lord has uniquely gifted you.  Your participation matters.  Who knows what may happen when we work together as the family of God!  Lord, give us courage to use our talents for Your kingdom and humility to serve one another in love.  Through Jesus, Amen.    

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