Nehemiah was a layman, a civil servant, one of King Artaxerxes’ most trusted servants. Tradition suggests the Cupbearer was young, articulate, knowledgeable and physically fit. As the King’s Cupbearer, he protected his boss by sampling the food and wine.
Nehemiah’s brothers visited and shared that his city had problems, the walls were broken. The city of his people was in desolation. Nehemiah was concerned, his face and countenance showed it. However, concern alone was not enough. He made a decision to pray and seek God’s guidance. He waited for God’s timing and asked King Artaxerxes for his personal credit card to get wood from the King’s forest, safe passage to rebuild the walls and to return his beloved city to a place of commerce and spiritual beliefs.
Nehemiah’s success in building the wall is likely due as much to his care and concern for people as his building acumen. His emotional strength is demonstrated by his heart-felt love and concern for his brethren back home. He mourned, fasted and prayed day and night for them for four months.
Nehemiah pondered and referred to the things God had put in his heart. He used strong emotion in his prayer when he asked God to, “…give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins” (Nehemiah 4:4). Nehemiah set a tremendous example of his value and belief in prayer. He continually prayed before and during times of stress and decision “For some days… I prayed” (1:4-10). Nehemiah knew his power and strength came from God. He had a personal relationship with God. He looked to God for advice, resource and strength on a continual basis. The wall was completed in fifty two days and the whole project was such a success that even his enemies knew that it was done with the help of God (6:16).
Nehemiah didn’t need the latest Management guru. He led from his heart. With all the decisions, pressures and challenges leaders face in today’s world, we would do well to do the same. Chris Crane in his book Executive Influence says, “The next great movement in Christianity is demonstration. If we want people to believe in Jesus Christ, then we Christians must behave differently.”
Leadership is looking to your heart, defining your vision through prayer and living your leadership role according to your values. God had a plan for Nehemiah and his people and He has a plan for you.
What does God have in mind for you today?
Yours in Service
Laurie D. Kennedy