If you’ve been around and involved over the past year or so, you have probably heard and seen the statement “Better Together” dozens of times (at least). It just so happens that it appears on all of our printed material, on our weekly Worship Guide, on our website and social media pages, and with our logo in many instances. There are even pictures and mirrors in and around the church that have this “on” them.
But it’s more than just some catchy phrase or motto. It communicates more than just a 2-word statement that is easy to remember and share. Better Together for us has become, and is, a way of life, faith, and unity. That is truly what it means and there are not enough words for me to use, insert, or capitalize on here that would do it justice.
I am reminded of the testimony we find in the OT Book of Nehemiah. Here, within this segment of Scripture, we find one of the greatest accomplishments conducted and executed by the people of God: the rebuilding of the wall. The work, certainly envisioned by Nehemiah and empowered by God Himself, is a task that others couldn’t do. The Word states it in a very “matter of fact” way:
“Then I said to them: ‘You see the trouble we are in? Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me, and what the king had said to me. They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.'” (2, vv.17-18).
What is interesting is what follows…person after person, family after family, men and women, children and parents ~ all begin the process of making sure the wall is rebuilt. If you go on and read into chapter 4, you will see this testimony: “…for the people worked with all of their heart” (v.6). The people worked day and night under a consistent threat of attack…working with one hand and yielding a weapon in the other. Can you picture that? All of these people, all of these names ~ working together in harmony for a common purpose and goal. And what was the result? The final testimony?
“So the wall was completed…in 52 days. When all of our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” (6, vv.15-16).
Nothing can marginalize the incredible nature of accomplishing this task! Nehemiah, who was nothing more than a cupbearer for the king, returned to his homeland, became moved by what he saw, and led God’s people to fulfill what had been deemed “impossible” for many, many decades. So then, what was the recipe? What occurred that allowed this to happen? Inquiring minds and hearts want to know!
Here it is: (1) God was involved and actively sought out; and (2) They were Better Together!
The same principle lies behind what enables The Church, today, to do accomplish great things and function as the bodily presence of Jesus to a lost and dying world. It is not a great facility or a dynamic pastor, minister, or program. It’s not location or demographics. And it surely is not money. As in Nehemiah’s day, the success of God’s work depended upon leaders calling and equipping God’s people to serve as each part does what it’s called to do. People, of all ages and abilities, doing God’s work and not caring who gets the credit just as long as God is honored and the Mission of Christ continues forward.
Jesus promised that if we would allow him to be the Head of His Church and look to him for power, direction, and guidance, we would do even greater things than He Himself did (see John 14, v.12). Our part is to trust Him and believe in Him with great faith. But for this to happen, each part must do the work that God has set apart for them to do (both individually and corporately). Better Together! Then, more than a wall is built or constructed; Jesus becomes real to the world, and His Name and Banner is lifted up!