Anonymous Yet Vital

And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate. – Nehemiah 3:12-13

hands-build-blocksIn rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, as in all projects, there are very visible portions of the work and other areas that are more behind the scenes. These two verses, while seeming to just add to the list of workers, actually present us with two groups of Anonymous Yet Vital workers in this project.

Halohesh apparently had no sons or his sons chose to not take part in the rebuilding effort. Either way, we find a rare occurrence in Scripture when the daughters of someone are mentioned. Genealogies and other important events typically only list the sons of those involved. So when we have daughters mentioned, we should take note.

According to customs of the time, we should not assume that these daughters actually took part in the physical labor of the rebuild. Rather, they were most likely wealthy, and they hired workers to do the work in their family name. Why is this important? As you might recall, the nobles of the Tekoites refused to work or even support the rebuilding effort.  This is mentioned to their shame. Here, these faithful, though unnamed, daughters are mentioned to show that, even though they could not physically partake in the work effort, they supported the work by any means they could. Not everyone can do the same thing, but everyone can do something!

These daughters along with the next group mentioned might easily be overlooked because they don’t repair a prominent gate or structure. As a matter of fact, their portions lead up to the dung gate. And the function of that gate is exactly what it sounds like. That’s not exactly the kind of picture you put on the postcard for your city. But look at the importance of their portion of the work. This wall is probably over 1,500 feet long, and it is on a portion of the city that seems unimportant. That is a huge area that could very well be the best place for any enemy to make a breach in the wall and infiltrate the city! Although their work didn’t look that important, it was crucial to the defense of the city.

Discipleship in our churches works exactly the same way. Each member has been blessed by God with certain gifts or abilities. Some of these gifts make the person more visible and prominent in the congregation. But this does not mean that he or she is more important. Visibility is just the nature of their particular job. All work in the church is vital to health and safety of the church. If we seek a more visible position, perhaps we should examine why we seek that position. Is it for the notoriety or the credit that we would receive? If so, we should reexamine our motivation and seek the good of the church rather than the promotion of our own reputation.

Remember what Jesus taught when the disciples disputed about who would be greatest in the kingdom:

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:4


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