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“Next To”

By Shannon Marshall

It is one thing to try and do something by yourself, but somethings require some help. Nehemiah had some help in rebuilding the broken-down walls and gates of Jerusalem. The book of Nehemiah was written in first person. Nehemiah wrote the book from his experience. One of the things he wrote down was the names of those who helped him. A phrase used over thirteen times in chapter three is “Next to.” “Next to him the men of Jericho built…” (Nehemiah 3:2).  Nehemiah had those who worked right beside him on the rebuilding.  Many can criticize what is being done or what should be done, but the number is far less that actually do the work. They sacrificed to do the work. What does it take to sacrifice like they did in rebuilding the walls?

First, what it cost. The most valuable thing we have is time. We may not want to give up our time, because that requires sacrifice. Give someone something, they may or may not appreciate it. Let someone work for that same thing and it becomes more meaningful. Why? Because of the time sacrificed doing the work, was what it cost.

Second, who showed the care. Nehemiah cared. The others who got involved cared. If you care about something or someone then you will sacrifice because you care. Ruth Reed likes to show people she cares by routinely paying for their groceries. When she saw a man who was having trouble getting his debit card to work, she step up and paid for his groceries. Turns out the man happened to be Keith Urban. She didn’t buy his groceries because he was a celebrity. She did it because she cared.

Third, why the commitment. Many things need done. What gets them done is commitment. Side by side, next to , shoulder to shoulder, they committed to get the walls and gates rebuilt. They accomplished it in fifty-two days.

Fourth, when it is completed. When did they stop? When it was completed. Another phrase in chapter three that is used multiple times is, “After them.” Meaning others got involved when they saw others getting it done. We all could use more “next to” us helping out.