We recently finished a major R3Global function in Atlanta, GA that was focused on leadership. Most of you reading this eblast are leaders in the making, as we all are, so I want to spend this time with you addressing some of the key characteristics and challenges of a leader.
Nehemiah was one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament and his recorded experiences in the Book of Nehemiah can give great insight into the life of a leader. Nehemiah was highly favored by God. He was the King’s cupbearer, which meant he lived in the King’s palace and tasted of all the things the King was to drink to assure the King was not poisoned. This meant that Nehemiah had to be willing to lay down his life for the King. But Nehemiah lived in a time when his people were in economic crisis. Their enemies had burned their city (Jerusalem) to the ground. Nehemiah prayed and fasted for several months and felt like it was his calling to go help his people rebuild the wall around the city and thus rebuild the city. The King gave his permission so Nehemiah struck out to rebuild the wall.
In the natural, the task looked almost insurmountable. There was much rubbish to be removed. Nehemiah surveyed the situation and then he brought numerous families together and told them of his vision, his God, and his King, and the people strengthened their hands for the work and each family was assigned a portion of the wall to rebuild. Sound familiar?
One of the things that you need to realize is that anytime you decide to build something for God there will be a fight. The unholy trinity will always show up to sow doubt, fear, and unbelief. That is the nature of the enemy. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem laughed at Nehemiah and his people and asked, in a mocking fashion, what is this thing you do? Will ye rebel against the King? Nehemiah responded with, “The God of Heaven he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem”. Nehemiah’s relationship with his King was crucial at this point! So is your relationship with the King, if you want to withstand the lies of the fear merchants.
Nehemiah and his people kept on building the wall and the attacks kept on coming. Ridicule, scorn, threats, anything to put Nehemiah and his people in fear so they would stop building. But the people kept a mind to work and they built with a sword in one hand and a building instrument in the other. Your sword is the Word of God and if you are building anything that will touch the lives of people for God then you better be ready to use that sword. Realize this, you never have to be afraid! God does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Fear is not from God!!!!
This unholy trinity kept trying to pull Nehemiah off course. They tried to get him to come off the wall and meet with them at the Plain of Ono. You will always have people trying to pull you away from your assigned mission. They will always make it appear you would be better off if you were with them. Your response should be “Ono”. They tried to get Nehemiah to hide in the Temple (Church) so he would not be attacked and they hired false prophets to orchestrate this attempt to pull Nehemiah off the wall in fear of his life. Nehemiah refused to hide in the church and refused to come off the wall. You should too! There are too many people hiding in churches! Nehemiah and his people finished the wall and all of us need to finish our portion of the wall also.
This picture of leadership is more than just an historical account; it is a type and shadow of Jesus Christ himself. Consider these points:
1. Nehemiah was the King’s cupbearer. How many times in scripture did Jesus refer to the cup (Examples: Are you able to drink of the cup? – Matt. 20:22; remove this cup from me – Luke 22:42)
2. Nehemiah sat at the right hand of the King.
3. Nehemiah was willing to lay down his life for the King.
4. Nehemiah was of the tribe of Judah.
5. Nehemiah finished the job (it is finished).
6. When the work was finished Nehemiah gave charge of the city to a faithful man that feared God and returned to the King as he had promised.
We encourage you today to have a relationship with the King of Kings that is so strong and personal that no lying, deceiving spirit can ever pull you away from what God has called you to do. We encourage you to keep the sword of the spirit (the Word of God) at your side at all times. Keep it sharp because there will always be the Sanballats, Tobiahs, and Geshems of the world ridiculing, mocking, and attempting to pull you off the wall. They may even come disguised as family members, ministers, friends or other business people. We encourage you to always remember your main reason for building. It’s all about the people (restoration, revival, restitution). It’s all about giving hope to the hopeless and dreams back to those who have had their dreams stolen or crushed (rebuilding the wall).
You will win and the wall will be completed if you just don’t come off the wall.
Rev. Ed Henderson
New Life Network, Inc.