There is something that strikes me more and more as time passes, in other words, as I get older! The importance of TOGETHER is often relegated to the back seat when, in fact, it should be something we actively pursue. In Chapter 3 we see people working TOGETHER. If we just flick through quickly then it would be easy to miss this amongst the list of people who worked on the wall and gates. But, if we can see past the data what we'll see are people from all different walks of life and families coming TOGETHER, with a unified purpose, to rebuild, not just the walls, but also Jerusalem's honour.

There are three things that I can see in this chapter about TOGETHER:

1. Teamwork makes the dream work: the people come TOGETHER to rebuild the walls. They have a willingness and make themselves available for the job at hand, knowing its importance. The vision is becoming a reality because as a team they are working TOGETHER.

In church we so often pull each other down over periphery doctrinal differences. We speak about the church 'around the corner' that does things  a wee bit differently than us as if we have the only God-given mandate on how to do church! Nehemiah's team didn't have time to debate on how they fixed the wall and what techniques should be used; they just got on with the job at hand, TOGETHER. There is definitely a lesson for us to learn there...

2. Unity: teamwork is near impossible without unity. The unity, for example, in a F1 pit crew always amazes me. The car is in the pit for a few seconds and in that time they change every tyre, refuel the car and replace any faulty parts. Each team member has their role and purpose, and because of that the car is in and out in a flash! Nehemiah's massive team of people worked together in unity TOGETHER as they rebuilt the walls.

In church we each have a God-given role to fulfil and we must work TOGETHER to do our part. As the saying goes 'no man is an island' and never is this more true in church. Serving alongside each other in unity is a critical part of church. The only way for the body of the church to function as it should is in unity just like Nehemiah and his workers.

3. Guard our hearts: Not everyone took part in rebuilding the walls. Some Tekoan nobles thought the work was beneath them. So, do we then read about other complaining or whinging because of it? No! They are focused on the task at hand instead of looking to the left or right at what others may or may not be doing (Tennis neck syndrome!) We need to guard our hearts when we are serving because it is easy for pride or bitterness to develop, when we feel we are serving and working hard and others appear to be doing very little around us. 

Paul tells us to take every thought captive that we might obey Christ and that is so important when we are serving and working for God's Kingdom. One thought of pride at OUR work or one thought of bitterness because others aren't helping can destroy TOGETHER. I believe the best days of the church are ahead and NOT behind. But, if there is no TOGETHER then there is no church. How can a body function if it is at war with itself! 

Church, let's rise up and see the God-given vision to reach the lost come to pass. Nehemiah has some stirring words for us from chapter 2. “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.” 

Philippians 2:3 (NIV) - Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.