Everyone Has a Role
By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte
Nehemiah 11:19-22 (NASB)
19 Also the gatekeepers: Akkub, Talmon, and their kinsmen who kept watch at the gates, were 172.
20 The rest of Israel, of the priests and of the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, each on his own inheritance. 21 But the temple servants were living in Ophel, and Ziha and Gishpa were [a]in charge of the temple servants. 22 Now the overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica, from the sons of Asaph, who were the singers for the service of the house of God
Happy New Year everyone, I am excited to continue our study in the book of Nehemiah with you. I have enjoyed immersing myself in the richness of this book and my hope is that you dear readers have enjoyed the study as well.
In the last several weeks of 2020, we focused on the people selected to repopulate the holy city. This week’s passage is about those who remained outside of the city of Jerusalem. The people mentioned today did not move into the city, but had vital roles within its gates. These people were the ones who kept watch over the gates, they were temple servants and they were the singers in the house of God.
The job of watchman was, and is, extremely important. While a shepherd cares for the flock and makes sure none goes astray, the watchman’s job is to keep an eye out for any and all dangers that would threaten the city and sound the warning. We as God’s church also need both a shepherd, who is the pastor, and the watchman, who is one who is sensitive to God’s voice, which enables them to provide warning of coming danger and a word of encouragement to the people.
Also mentioned in the passage is the Levites who are the priests and teachers, while the singers for the service of the house of God would be the worship leaders bringing God’s people into worship before the Lord.
If we look at a letter from Paul to the church in Ephesus, we can see the same model used for church ministry.
Ephesians 4:11-12 (NASB)
11 And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as [a]pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the [b]saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ;
What can we learn from Nehemiah?
· While there are specific roles in the church as specified through the five-fold ministry, we all have a role in the body of Christ. No matter the role, they are all important.
· Even though you may have a particular ministry gifting, we all can fulfill a role if needed. A parent, for example is all the above for their children.
· Some of the people remained inside the city, others lived in their own towns based on their inheritance. Some people are content to remain outside or in safer areas of ministry, while some are called to harder and less “safe” ministry.
Oftentimes the enemy would love to cause division between the different ministries, but we are all one body of Christ. Not one ministry is more important than the other is; likewise, all are interdependent on each other.
Romans 12: 4-8 (NASB)
4 For just as we have many parts in one body and all [f]the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. 6 However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, [g]in proportion to one’s faith; 7 if [h]service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; 8 or the one who [i]exhorts, in the work of [j]exhortation; the one who gives, with [k]generosity; the one who [l]is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?
- How can we keep watch over the sheep that God has entrusted to our care?
- How can we be content and grow in the gifts God has given us and not long for someone else’s gift?
- No matter where I am in my walk with Christ, does my worship bring me as well as others into God’s presence?
Take a few minutes and pray for the calling God has placed on your life. Ask Him to help you to be content with your calling and to grow you in your ministry.
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