Every little bit matters

Every little bit matters (Naming and honouring)

Stories tell us so much about the life of a person. That is why speeches at weddings, 21sts, or the sharing time at a person’s funeral is often so meaningful, as people relive, or hear for the first time, the moments, and events that shaped the person’s life or highlight their character. But stories also help tell about the life of a community or nation.

One of the stories regularly told when I was at Ringwood Church of Christ was of Mrs. Nankivell. As a child she is pictured holding a nail bag, handing out nails to the builders as the original church was erected in a single day, back in the 1920’s. Later she would donate land to the church so that it could continue to be a presence in the community. Mrs Nankivell was no longer alive when I turned up at Ringwood in the mid ‘90’s although many people still remembered her and while I don’t know much else about her those two stories are important memories for the church, because they help describe where the church has come from as they look towards the future.

The stories don’t necessarily tell us how we should be the church today (building a church in a day would not be recommended!), but they do help us to remember what God has done, and to consider what he is doing today, and what our contribution to that might be. The current ministry team leader at Ringwood is concluding his ministry there after about 25 years of faithful presence. John is one of the reasons that I am in ministry having first given me the space to discern if ministry was part of my calling from God, and then giving me the opportunity to take up the role as Young Adults Minister which I did for over 9 years.

I could name others who played a role in shaping me – Grandma Coleman who had a way of seeing into my heart and naming it, and Dr. Mac, the minister at my home church in Geelong throughout my teens and early twenties, who regularly, and gently, suggested going into ministry (at which time I never intended to do!) – some played major roles, others just quietly got alongside me, speaking words of encouragement, or simply cheering me on.

In our reading today (Nehemiah 3:8-12) we get a snapshot of those who helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It’s a snapshot because the whole chapter, all 32 verses, is full of the names of those who helped with repairs. When you get a chance, have a read of the whole thing, and consider all the stories that could be told just from that one chapter, stories that reach back to before the exile, and stories that stretch into the future, stories of hope, of community, of God.

These people are named and honoured as a way of honouring God because when we see all of these people coming together to do this work it is because they are bound together by their hope and faith in God and in the community that he placed them in. These aren’t perfect people, stories, or events as we will see during this series, but that is true of every story. This serves only to remind us that we need to follow Jesus who promises to take the imperfections of all of our stories and transform them and use them for the glory of God.

So what is your story? Who are the people who have helped shape you? What are the events that have set you on your path?


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