Leaders rearrange their priorities in order to accomplish their goals.
In Nehemiah 1:11, we are given a simple, yet telling description of this leader, “and I was the king’s cupbearer”. Nehemiah had specific duties as the king’s cupbearer. He was a trusted servant, a confidant, personal advisor, and of course he was the front line defense in the prevention of the king being poisoned either accidentally or as part of an assassination plot. The “cupbearer” was his priority. The “cupbearer” was his professional identification. The “cupbearer” was his every-day job. In the midst of performing his daily duties, word comes to him of the condition of the people and the city wall back in Jerusalem. Chapter One chronicles his reaction to the news. God placed a great burden and a clear goal before Nehemiah through the news of his homeland. Verse five shows us what happens when a God-sized goal interferes with everyday life. “ 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.” The goal must be pursued.
Leaders, whether spiritual or corporate, set priorities. At times, priorities are set for them. Whether it is church growth or increased profit, what drives a leader rises to the top. The question that must be answered is this, “Am I as a leader willing to let the priorities I have set for myself be shuffled in order to accomplish a God-given goal?” Leaders are willing to allow their “to do” list that is generated by personal desires and wishes to become a “for Him” list that takes into account God’s plan and goal for them. From his prominent position, Nehemiah took leave in order to carry out the burden given to him. A leader must also take leave of the temporary focuses of life in order to pursue the eternal blessings of obedience.