And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem. Now these are the chiefs of the province that dwelt in Jerusalem: but in the cities of Judah dwelt every one in his possession in their cities, to wit, Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon’s servants.Nehemiah 11:2-3
A friend of mine sent me a picture from an old church address book. I remember phone books like this usually contained pictures of the people in the church. In our church now, I sometimes thumb through the online directory to see who a prayer request is for or for a reference to whom someone is talking about. Our church now is a little bigger, so it is hard to remember faces and names from time to time. The address book picture my friend sent me was of my sister and me and did not contain my parents, which I cannot remember why. Our family did not take formal pictures very often but we did take these in a trailer outside of Smitty’s grocery store. In the 90’s, photos were not as prevalent as they are now and they cost money, so we did not take a lot of pictures that I can remember.
I think back to that book from our old church, and I can see the names and faces of the church members who were listed. There are many who have gone home to be with the Lord and others I am not sure where they may be. I think of the man who lived on the same block the church was on, and was always faithful to keep the buses working as he worked tirelessly on them. I think of his wife who served in the church as well and went home to be with the Lord when I was a senior in high school. I think back to those who were faithful in cleaning the church and others who cut the grass in the front every Saturday. I think of those who drove a bus and those who ran the routes and were faithful to visit families every Saturday morning. I think of the Sunday school teachers who showed up every Sunday morning. We were not easy to deal with but yet they took on the challenge of doing God’s work. I think of the teen leaders who fought the devil and the world for teens hell bent on living for themselves.
I think of my parents who were faithful in many ministries of the church and did jobs that were less than desirable, but yet remained faithful. I remember my mom waking up early on a Saturday morning to make French toast for those who came to pray while I fell asleep during the prayer time. I think of the many kids she taught in the 4-5 year old age group (including her crazy son) for which she had an impact on their lives. I think of my dad who drove a bus as I rode shotgun and enjoyed the snacks and ruckus of the bus. I think of the head deacon duties he held, and him and my mom serving as the leaders of the Awana ministry. Our church contained a lot of servants who were eager to work, even though some may not have noticed their work for the Lord. I may have forgotten some, but I know God has their name written down and He knows the work they have done.
Every member plays a vital role in the church if they will be willing to do what God would have them to do. There are some who look for ways to get out of God’s service and make excuses for why they cannot serve. They forget the privilege it is to serve the King of Kings and to use the gifts He has given us. We instead should look for ways to get involved. God allowed Nehemiah and the children of Israel to rebuild the walls of the City of Jerusalem, but there was still work to be done. The rest of chapter 11 in Nehemiah states names that are hard to pronounce, but they played a role in God’s work. They were remembered by their sons, grandsons, and generations to come as God thought it important to list them here in this chapter. God calls individuals to do His work and everyone in a church is important to the body and they play a huge role in God’s work, no matter what work and job they may do.
Will you get active in your local church? Will you join a local church? What are you currently doing in your local church? Are you complaining about the work God has given you to do? Do you look for ways to be of service? Did you realize God has called you to be an active participant in the body of believers? Will you quit making excuses for why you cannot serve, and just get busy doing the Lord’s work? I am sure your pastor will not mind a call from you asking how you can get active in your local church. May we answer the call of service and allow God to use us in His service.