Nehemiah’s construction crew is probably one of the most eclectic in history. Some names and previous employment histories stand out: goldsmiths, merchants, rulers, perfume makers and even “Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem…with the help of his daughters.” This remnant of a nation joined forces to rebuild the wall, to “put its doors and bolts and bars in place.” Why would a defeated people go to such effort? To what end would the soft hands of women, rulers, skilled artisans invite the callouses and splinters of hard labor with wood, stone and mortar?
It is all for hope: the dream of being the people of God once again, to see Him move amongst them, to be free from the fear of captors who can control their futures and choke out the joy of living. Don’t I long for the same things in my life?
Nehemiah (3:5) specifically mentions the nobles of Tekoa “who would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.” I have ask to myself, “When has my pride and unwillingness to submit to someone I thought less noble than myself kept me from being part of God’s movement? When have I told God ‘no’ because something was outside my typical job description?” Nehemiah’s lists encourage me to live more like a daughter of Shallum than a noble of Tekoa. God make me open and willing to do whatever He asks of me in the building of his Kingdom.