The Nehemiah Project
What it means to take the lead…
by Ken Durham
You have heard it said, “If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.” This “fear” of being a leader can quickly detour someone from being willing to step up and lead. That is why it is important to not lead in your own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit! Whether you are leading a one on one discipleship, a children’s class, a congregation or even a nation, you cannot do it under your own power.
Nehemiah did not come back to rebuild the walls and sit back to watch them do it. He told them that, yes, King Artaxerxes had allowed him to come back with his authority, but it was God who had blessed him to be able to be there. He was willing to put his ‘sweat equity’ into the process (Nehemiah 2:1-18, 4:12-23) by working on the wall with them and helping to provide protection from the surrounding enemies. Can you imagine working for days without a shower or changing your clothes? (That would be a big motivation for me to get done quickly!) And they worked side by side to get the tasks accomplished. George Orwell said, “the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time.”
But then, Nehemiah discovered that it was not just the enemies from outside the walls that were causing problems, but there were ‘attacks’ from inside the walls. As people were struggling to rebuild and still provide for their families, they were being oppressed by the nobles and officials, mortgaging everything or selling their family into slavery in order to be able to pay the taxes and official food allowances. This truly showed what kind of leader Nehemiah was as he did not try to be popular, but rather did what was right for the people of God. (Nehemiah 5:6-19) He told them he had not taken the first allowance, so they should not either. No more loans, but working together to provide for all. He was telling them that they, too, must count the cost of being a leader, and what it means to care for those you are responsible for in their community.
President Ronald Regan said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does great things. He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things.” Our job…yes, I said “Our job”…is not to look at what we can’t do, but look at what we can do when we allow God to work in and through us! I want to encourage you to do the same as what Jesus did for you…He gave His all. Should we give any less?
To read more about the Nehemiah Project, click HERE.
On October 23rd Pastor Jerry Ingalls will be preaching on Nehemiah 5:14-6:14 & 11:1-12:26
Godly Leadership is Important!!