When asked to write on leadership with the book of Nehemiah in mind, I realized it might be a daunting task. It’s like when someone gives you a gift card to your favorite store but you have only so much money on that card to spend. Making a decision can be hard.
The book of Nehemiah is a treasure trove of teachable moments where we could camp-out for months, gleaning much regarding leadership from this man’s life. Without question, each character trait he exemplified through this process was stellar. As I was studying this book, I was thinking how great it would be to arrive at a place where we could lead the way this man did. Specifically, could we lead from a position of passion and zeal for God, like Nehemiah did?
Mediating on the book as a whole, I sensed the Spirit of God asking me, “What is the one thing you see as being most important for a leader to possess?” After much thought, my answer was, “It’s not primarily one particular leadership quality to be grasped, but rather a God relationship: a relationship between God and man that at its core speaks: ‘I want to honor God in every part of my life’.” This type of communion with God brings us to the place of being readied to be used for His purposes and plans. We should be able to say like Jesus,
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. John 4:34
Like Nehemiah, we can follow diligently after God even though the way may be hard and may not always be the way it was mapped out at the start. Our fellowship with Him trains our hearts to trust Him, to lean on Him and to know he is good and merciful. This fellowship produces God’s favor and blessing and we can see Him do great things in us and through us.
This is what Nehemiah possessed. Nehemiah was wise and he knew that, although the end result would be the rebuilt wall, it was following God’s instructions that mattered. Although the process involved challenges and difficulties, it was done according to God’s direction through Nehemiah. All the planning and patience, the wisdom and strategy Nehemiah displayed was because he had God in the forefront of his mind. He had a consuming zeal to honor God and to do what was right in God’s eyes, no matter who or what tried to divert him.
“They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.” Nehemiah 1:10&11
In the end it wasn’t some huge charismatic persona that Nehemiah possessed that caused people to get on board to repair the wall. They saw His heart for God, his genuine love for people and that he trusted God’s favor and blessing would be with him. When all of the odds seemed stacked against him, he went forward anyway. He cried out to God, God heard His cry and He directed Nehemiah so he could accomplish this great work for the people of Israel.
For more, you may enjoy listening to our Bible study on the book of Nehemiah. Tune in to your favorite radio station, listen to our podcast on iTunes, or listen through TuneIn or Stitcher online radio. You can also listen on our website where you will find the study guide available for download too.
Terry is a blog contributor who is thankful for her life in Jesus which fills her life with joy.