The staff has been engaging a study from the book of Nehemiah written by Chip Ingram entitled Holy Ambition. This past week we looked at what I consider one of the most powerful images in the Bible of God’s people who committed themselves to a “Holy Ambition” that God laid on their hearts to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. In chapter 3, Nehemiah tells the story of how the people, with every kind of gift and skill, came from every direction to complete the good work God prepared in advance for them to do.
I especially love verses 17-32. Just notice all the “next to hims” and “next to thems.” 17 Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. 18 Next to him, the repairs were made by their fellow Levites under Binnui[f] son of Henadad, ruler of the other half-district of Keilah. 19 Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armory as far as the angle of the wall. 20 Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 Next to him, Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired another section, from the entrance of Eliashib’s house to the end of it.
22 The repairs next to him were made by the priests from the surrounding region. 23 Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. 24 Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner, 25 and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh 26 and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. 27 Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel.
28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shekaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. 30 Next to him, Hananiah son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. Next to them, Meshullam son of Berekiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. 31 Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; 32 and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs.
As I reflect on our study, I am grateful that I get to work next to the staff, next to the Ridder Team and next to the Consistory. I thank God I get to work next to the Prayer Team, the Worship Team, the Discipleship Team and the Mission Support Team. And I thank God as I watch so many of you working side by side, teaching, caring, serving, and encouraging one another in order to advance the kingdom here in Luverne and around the region.
We might not finish our work in 53 days, but I thank God for how he is working in and through ARC!!!!
Laboring for the harvest, Mike Altena