Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nehemiah: A Great Leader

Nehemiah held the high and honored position of cupbearer for Artaxerxes, the king of Persia. Because of his position he enjoyed a life of luxury and ease and security.

Nehemiah’s heart grew heavy at every news report from Jerusalem, his homeland. After much prayer he ask the king if he would allow him to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. The king gave his permission, so Nehemiah went back home to begin this seemingly impossible task of leading the people of God in the rebuilding of the wall.
Nehemiah’s leadership was not inherited, nor was it voted on. It was something he earned.

In Nehemiah’s life we see some of the qualities of leadership needed in our churches today.

1. Vision. – Vision is the ability to see beyond today. It is the capacity to anticipate the future. It is seeing the unseen. Not many have this ability. Many people have sight; few have insight. The masses saw only a trash heap that was once the wall of a mighty city. They saw only hopelessness and defeat. But not Nehemiah he looked beyond what was, to see what could be. His leadership started with a vision and a dream born of God (Neh. 2:12). Leaders are people of imagination, insight, dreams, and vision.

2. Courage. – Courage is the boldness to implement your vision despite almost sure opposition, criticism, and a chance of failure. Most of us settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure. To be a good leader we must be willing to take chances, to try the new, and even to risk failure. To be a leader you have to be strong enough to make hard decisions and daring enough to risk failure. Nehemiah had this kind of courage (Neh. 4:14)

3. Confidence. – Confidence is believing in yourself and your goals. Confidence can be acquired in several ways. It can come through training, through skill, through experience, and through the confidence in knowing that we are doing God’s will. This was the source of Nehemiah’s confidence (Neh. 2:20).

4. Humility. – A great leader’s confidence must be balanced with humility. He must not be so self-assured that he feels no need of God. He must not be so confident that he ignores the counsel of others (Pro. 11:14). Humility makes a person a better leader.

5. Determination. – This is the persistency that refuses to quit or become discouraged because of hardships, difficulties, or opposition. It is determined people who become leaders (Neh. 4:8-9).

6. Energy. – Leaders are hard workers. The price tag of leadership is long days and sleepless nights. No man can be a successful leader in an eight hour day. Leadership is a selfish taskmaster. Nobody will follow a lazy man. The responsibility of leadership belongs to the Nehemiah’s who will roll up there sleeves and work day and night to accomplish their task (Neh. 4:6).

7. Organizing & Supervising. – A wise leader realizes that he can do very little himself. A leaders success is largely determined by what he is able to get others to do. Nehemiah was a master at organizing and utilizing others. With incredible skill he organized, assigned, and supervised his people to accomplish God’s work (Neh. 4:13-23).

8. Concern. – A good leader cares for his people as much as for his goals. No man can be a great leader unless he loves his people and sincerely has their best interests at heart. You must be willing to always take more than your share of the blame for failures and a little less than your share of the credit for success.