Monday, August 5, 2013

Church work

The other day our young grandson was over at the house our son is rehabbing so he can rent it out. We have been working on it non-stop for the past couple of months (he has been on it non-stop since April). We were down to some last minute jobs before we could call it good. His father asked our grandson to do something. I don't want to do that, he said, don't you have something else? Now he came to help and he has been a good helper. But, it reminded me of some reading I have been doing in Nehemiah. Nehemiah goes back to Jerusalem after the Exile to rebuild the walls of the city which were very important for security. A whole bunch of people go back with him and then there are the ones who had already gone back but weren't doing much. So in chapter 2 and 3 we read how Nehemiah surveyed the work that needed to be done and then he called for the workers to do it. I love this picture of all sorts of different people working on various sections of the wall. There were pastors, goldsmiths, perfumers, and supervisors, and people from outside the city, too. They were all taking part in the grunt labor needed to be done. No one was allowed to say but I am trained for... or my spiritual gift is... or I don't do that kind of work.... No excuses! There were women as well as men and at that time this rebuilding work was "man"s work". John Goldingay points out that the Bible rarely speaks of leadership as a spiritual gift. Instead, the preferred term in the Bible is serving. Servants of God rather than leaders of the people of God. Nehemiah refers to himself that way. You can bet he wielded a trowel with the best of them. In the Church there is always work to do. You don't need a special spiritual gift for most of it. You just need a heart of service. And no excuses.