Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing many calls by national and community leaders in the battle against Covid-19. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay at home. One call, however, has struck me as especially rousing and meaningful:
It’s a call that many Singaporeans have risen to, as seen in the tireless efforts by healthcare workers, cleaners, security guards, transport workers, and many others. And it’s seen in the many who have gone beyond the call of duty in to battle the coronavirus.
What drives their selfless spirit and sacrificial actions is one common purpose: to help the sick and afflicted, and to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Their actions remind me of another group of people who came together with such a united purpose in a difficult time. This was in the days of Nehemiah, who responded to the challenge to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by Israel’s enemies. Israelites from all walks of life and with various skills came forward to help rebuild the city walls and gates.
One Bible commentator counted 42 groups of people from different occupational backgrounds who were involved. The rebuilding project required the participation, coordination, and cooperation of the community to see to completion.
If you read through the list of names of people involved in Nehemiah 3, you’ll see that many of them were just ordinary people willing to step forward. The rebuilding of the wall was not a smooth process at all. It was met with resistance by Israel’s enemies, and the work was stressful and tiring. No wonder some were demoralised by the mounting challenges.
Yet all the people were united with one aim in mind: to rebuild the city walls, which would not only provide protection to their place of worship, but also give them a place of refuge where they could enjoy a renewed spiritual relationship with God.
As Nehemiah 4:6 records with warranted pride: “We rebuilt the wall… for the people worked with all their heart.”
I salute those who have been working tirelessly and sacrificially to help Singapore through this challenging time. And I believe that I can do my part by being mindful to wash my hands regularly and practise social distancing. I figure this is the least I can do to be a part of all who are working to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Like the Israelites who worked on the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, may we continue to work with one purpose in mind: Fight the spread and allow our act to be a part of our daily worship to God. —C. H. Tan
Lord, I pray for all Singaporeans
to stay united in purpose
in this battle against Covid-19.
Grant us a divine unity to work
with one purpose,
and help me to be a part of it.