Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah
“NEHEMIAH 11”Categories: Lessons on Leadership
When we think of Jerusalem we think of a huge, massively populated city. And certainly there are times it was. But Nehemiah 7:4 tells us that the city was “large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.” Without those large, protective walls, the people didn’t feel safe to dwell in Jerusalem. But now that the walls are rebuilt, and the people are on the right path of pursuing the Lord, how could Nehemiah go about repopulating Jerusalem.
What seems to take place in Nehemiah 11 is this leader’s steps to fill the city once again. The first step was the leaders moving into the newly walled city, no doubt at Nehemiah’s prompting. Afterwards the people cast their lots to select one out of every ten Israelites to join them. What we find through chapter 11 is the list of people who were moving back to the city.
What lessons of leadership can we learn from this chapter?
One Step at a Time – Nehemiah didn’t do everything at once. He didn’t hold the spiritual revival, the preaching of the Word, the humble confession in prayer, the repopulating of the city, while rebuilding the walls. First things first – he set his priorities in place and accomplished one thing at a time. Sometimes we can get to hasty. We try to pack on too much on our plates, placing impossible burdens on those under our influence. We expect too much without taking the time to prepare, to equip, to help others (or ourselves) succeed. A wall is built brick by brick. Habits are built one day at a time. Remember, leadership is about people. Inward growth and maturity takes time. It’s a process. It involves practice. It involves instruction. It involves mentoring. It involves time – it requires patience. Leadership is seeing the end goal, and setting reasonable, reachable steps to get there all along the way. “I want my kids to love the Lord with all their heart and serve Him, so we’re going to spend time every day in the Word, setting a foundation while they’re young, reading _______ books, and we’re going to worship as a family, and find ways to serve others each week…”.
People Need a Push – it’s hard to break out of the comfort zone. Leaving the plains of Judea to live in Jerusalem was risky. But it was the right move. As more and more people moved in, the city would grow, and with more people comes more revenue, comes more protection, comes greater growth. As a leader sometimes we need to push our people beyond their comfort. We don’t grow in the green pastures, but through following the Shepherd on the path of righteousness, a path that can take us new, even difficult, directions. The times we’re challenged are often the opportunities for maturing. It takes bravery to push past the fears and doubts that say “we can’t”, and to step out of the boat, onto the waves, and deepen our faith, keeping our eyes on the Savior.
“Precious Shepherd of our souls, we give you thanks for the list of names read in Nehemiah 11, of the brave souls who overcame comfort and fear and moved to Jerusalem. No matter how strong, how wise, how mature we believe we are today, give us the courage to pursue more, to continue to push and to grow, to become more and more like Jesus. And help our lives encourage others to follow on that same path.”