By Robert Halsey Pine
“And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread out, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Rally to us wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Our God will fight for us.” (Nehemiah 4:1-23 NRSV).
These words of Nehemiah as he oversaw the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem in the presence of the enemy are good for us to hear in our Christian ministry. Our work is great. If we worked for the Lord day and night for the rest of our time, His work would not be finished. Those in need of us are widely spread out and we are many times far from one another. We must stay connected as the body of Christ and appoint a trumpeter to sound his horn wherever we are in danger or in need of assistance.
It is not enough to seek God as individuals. In addition to ordering our lives around God it is important that we are in Christian community. It is through community that in sharing the gospel with one another, God reveals Himself to us through each other. I go back to my time of hospitalization for brain surgery. My brothers and sisters in Christ lifted me up to the Lord with prayer. Although I was not specifically aware that I was being prayed for, I felt a power that told me I was being prayed for. I could feel God working through that prayer.
One of the first things that I remember after several days in neuro intensive care was the hospital chaplain coming to me. He said, “I had to come in and meet you. I have never seen such an outpouring of love and prayer for someone.” It was not about me; it was about the strong Christian community that I was a part of. We must be intentional about being in community. The Lord expects us to love one another as He loves us. We can’t fully appreciate Him if we are in isolation. I’ve heard people complain because nobody came to see them when they were sick. They should have let somebody know that they needed prayer and company. We can’t expect others to read our minds.
We must not think that we are somehow unworthy of being in community. We must not be bashful. The Body of Christ is not a clique. The true Body of Christ cannot be if it is cliquish. Anyone who turns to Him and follows is a member of the Body of Christ. We must find those around us who seek the Lord and join together. Remember Nehemiah’s words, “Rally to us wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Our God will fight for us.”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.