The concept of ‘rising up and building’ comes from Nehemiah 2:18. Nehemiah wanted to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall after the city had been burnt and broken down.
The call to ‘rise up and build’ is an encouraging rally to action. The words ‘let us’ inspire a spirit of community, working together and volunteering. I like the words ‘rise up’ best of all. It makes me think of all of us, sitting in a state of apathy, trying to motivate ourselves to do a job that has been sitting around for a while. It’s a little like trying to get off the couch when it’s late and you can’t be bothered doing the dishes.
It’s not always from within us that we get this resistance to rising up. We can get roadblocks or hindrance from others. It can be from outside the ecclesia (church) or from other Christadelphians. It can be quite hard to carry on and stay motivated and enthusiastic. We have all had times in our life when we have tried to start something positive. Sometimes you get constantly pushed back or given negative feedback or just insulted.
Nehemiah 4:1-3 When Sanballat heard that Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble -- burned as they are?"
You can hear the scorn and sarcasm in these comments. Most of us get a sense of déjà vu reading this; we have all experienced this kind of attack or mocking. Nehemiah doesn’t retaliate or argue back or defend himself. He just prays to God.
Some verses that are helpful when you are trying to get on with the job of ‘rising up’ and ignoring negativity:
1. Expect negativity. People are people.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick
Matt 5:11-12 People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do, you will be happy.
Psa 41:6 When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around.
2. Think about the end goal
Matt 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you.
3. Don’t return evil for evil
1 Pet 3:9 Don’t be hateful and insult people just because they are hateful and insult you. Instead, treat everyone with kindness. You are God’s chosen ones, and he will bless you.
4. Remember that God is the judge
Rom 14:10-12 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
5. Check your motivation
1 Pet 3:6 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame.
6. Jesus showed us how to do it (this verse is my all time favourite!)
1 Pet 2:20-21 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favour with God…Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.
The last part of the phrase ‘and build’ is the focus. How can we get out of the negative cycle of criticism or apathy? Just get on with it! Noah builds an ark, Solomon built a temple, Jesus built an ecclesia (church). Find something positive to do and just do it.