Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah : Lesson #1

Leaders must possess a sense of mission.

Nehemiah 2:5 reads, ‘And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.’ Those who occupy leadership positions must have a reason and a passion for doing what they do. Something must drive them. Something must serve as their sense of motivation, their fuel is you will. For the spiritual leader, that driving force is the fame of God. It is seeing God’s will come to pass. Nehemiah had a clear directive from God. That directive was, in his own words, upon hearing news of the condition of Jerusalem, to return “to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” Nehemiah had received his “marching orders”. Nehemiah had been given a clear picture of what God wanted him to accomplish. It was so clear that he could clearly communicate it to the king. As a result, everything Nehemiah did and said was working toward that end.

Leaders must have a clear vision of what they are doing and want to accomplish. It must be their mission. There can’t be competing visions, divided loyalties, or a blurring of focus in their life. The mission for a spiritual leader must be what motivates them; not fame, fortune, or praise of man. Regardless of the possible difficulties facing Nehemiah, he was determined to be “on mission” and see to it that God’s people in Jerusalem were no longer a reproach to the other nations. Nothing else would have been acceptable. If spiritual leaders today do not have a sense that God has given them something to do for Him, that leader will drift aimlessly. As a result of this aimless drifting, those who are following will themselves drift, aimlessly.

5 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah : Lesson #1

  1. Taught a lesson series once about Nehemiah. He was doing well where he was, had a good job, respected position…but something happened, an event, a turning point. We all have those in our lives whether we are leaders in public view or leaders in our family or out there leading our own lives! Nehemiah left his place of relative comfort to help his people rebuild. He had to deal with all kinds of people during this process–those who cooperated, those who didn’t; those who worked behind his back, those who supported him fully; on and on. As a leader, Nehemiah knew the task he had undertaken and that it had to be done well. The squabbles and disloyalties couldn’t stop that mission, nor did he allow it. Today’s leaders in our churches face the same situations. The majority of a congregation is behind a good pastor, one they can see is doing his best with his calling from the Lord. That majority depends on their pastor/shepherd to delegate when needed, but to stand strong and perhaps alone when little foxes try to spoil the vine! It’s not always an easy task and the true reward may not show up here on earth, but when the calling is strong and the called follow, the Caller is there at each and every turn.

  2. Great thoughts Sharon. Thanks. It is true that Nehemiah could have allowed any number of issues, problems, and influences to bring him down off the wall, so to speak. When a leader has a sense of mission, a clear call from God on what should be done, opposition occurs. The enemy would love nothing more than the leader’s commitment to God’s mission be shaken. Resolve is strengthened when God allows the leader spiritual victories along the way.

  3. Yes, opposition occurs…sometimes from outside, but more often from within. Sometimes it is not clear and obvious opposition, thus my mention of those little foxes. Ministries have fallen or been seriously weakened by the “little things” and the leader must be on guard for that. This ability doesn’t come easily and has to be learned through often difficult lessons. I’m talking from personal experience as well as the experiences in the ministry over the years of my father, and ‘extra-curricular’ type learning through contact with missionaries, teachers, camp instructors, etc. Although I believe I am very open, broad-minded, and understanding of personalities and how God works in all of our lives, I am still somewhat amazed at church life in general and the relational aspects of it. I strongly believe that a pastor’s job or mission isn’t determined by an organization or synod, but by the calling of the Lord upon his life and guidance by the hand of God. I know it’s not easy, trust me. God gives the strength, grace, and courage to complete the mission set before each one of us.

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