THE NEHEMIAH SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP II


The Nehemiah school of leadership is a very important concept of leadership we began to examine in the first part of this article CLICK HERE to read the first part. This school of leadership was derived from the leadership example given by Nehemiah, the governor of Jerusalem, as he successfully led his people to achieve the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem. Last week we saw the crucial importance of leaders having the right motivation for leadership which ought to be selfless service to the group. We saw also, the need for leaders to willingly offer themselves for service and to be accepted by the group. The need for personal investigation into the situation of the group when a leader is commissioned was also established. We shall now go further to see some other very important principles from the book of Nehemiah (Please get a Bible and open to Nehemiah as we read along together).

Nehemiah was able to see to the timely execution of the wall rebuilding project which the Israelite had embarked on because he was able to mobilize the people to make personal commitment to the work. He made everyone realize they had a role to play to have a common success. We see this fact vividly portrayed in the account of the Jerusalem wall rebuilding work in Nehemiah chapter three, which was carried out by families and individuals. The nobles as well as the rest of the citizens were all involved in the work. We learn here an important principle in leadership which entails that a leader must be able to mobilize the group he leads such that all individuals realize their role in the overall success of the group.

Discrimination of individual contributions on the basis of financial strength, physical ability, or intellectual acumen should not be the practice in a good leadership, rather the mobilization of all these individual contributions should be accorded equal importance. A successful family or community, group or nation, is that which all members bring in their talents and resources to ensure development, progress and achievement of a good life and environment for all. Something is definitely wrong if the members of the group feel there are a select few whose contributions are important and those who are not important. Something is also wrong if members perception is that their contributions are only geared at making the leader or a select few successful. Hence, a leader’s true test of capability is the level of mobilization of all members of the group to embrace a common vision, goal or purpose, and make contributions towards its realization.
A good leader must keep a level-head and remain resolute amidst distractions and undaunted by opposition. Nehemiah’s mission of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was not without distractions and opposition. He had come as a governor appointed by the king to carry out the work of rebuilding Jerusalem, but he faced opposition from external aggressors who were from the neighboring enemy nations around Israel. These aggressors saw the rebuilding of Jerusalem as a threat to them, and so they conspired together to frustrate the efforts of Nehemiah and the Israelites. Notable among these aggressors were Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab, who were all out to stop the work. Every leader is bound to encounter opposition from quarters who do not want the group to succeed. For no just reason, some people feel threatened by the success of others and feel entitled to be the only ones to succeed, and so they resist any leader who arises to lead a group of people to success. This happens at all levels of leadership, whether at school, the workplace, the nation, and even in the family. It is worthy of note the reaction of Nehemiah to this opposition – he refused to be intimidated by it. He refused to be weakened by it, but continued with his task despite them. He did not yield to their plots but let them know he was aware of their intentions. Today we are aware of international politics where some developed nations through subtle means try to keep developing nations from attaining a developed status. Some of these nations even sponsor rebellion within the underdeveloped and developing nations to destabilize them. Thus, a good leader must be sensitive enough to detect and nib in the bud the activities of external aggressors who are fuelling crisis in the group. He must not allow the activities of external aggressors to threaten the peace and security of his people. Nehemiah was decisive and took proactive measures to secure the people while they embarked on their tasks as we see in Nehemiah 4: 7-22.

Furthermore, Nehemiah was quick to detect conspiracy among certain of the Israelites who aligned with the external aggressors to hinder him. Even an important member of the Israelite community, a prophet, was hired by Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem to work against the mission of Nehemiah (Neh. 6:10-14). However, Nehemiah was able to detect their plot and would not fall to it. It is important that every leader realizes that some members of the group may have dissenting views and may even be hired to cause confusion and hinder the group from achieving their goals, but the leader has to remain resolute and stay on the right course despite this.

Another very important lesson to learn from Nehemiah is that we must uphold justice for all people. At a time when the nobles, the rich Israelites, had acquired the lands of the poor Israelites as collateral for the monies they borrowed, Nehemiah realized that this practice was further impoverishing and making life unbearable for the poor whose land was the major possession and source of livelihood. He saw the injustice of the oppression of the poor by the rich, and he immediately intervened. He convened a conference of the nobles and the officials, and openly rebuked them for the exploitation of the poor and required that they restored the lands to the people and relieve them of their burdens. The nobles, the officials and the rich people were made to see the wickedness of their actions and repented of it and dealt fairly and kindly with the rest of the people (Nehemiah 5:1-13). A good leadership is not one whose leadership makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. A good leadership is one where equity is entrenched and an equilibrium condition of life is established for everyone. A fair wage system and a people-sensitive taxation system is critical to achieving this. When justice is upheld in a group or society, peace will be achieved and social agitations will be very minimal or eliminated.
We have a lesson also of Nehemiah’s generosity. Of this generosity we learn in Nehemiah 5:14-19, where we see Nehemiah give away his food allowances which was a burden to be borne by the people. As a governor he was entitled to a daily ration of forty shekels of silver which was charged to the people by previous governors, but realizing the burden this put on the people, he refused to have the allowance throughout his leadership. Such compassionate towards the led is important for all leaders to have. While some see leadership as an opportunity to amass wealth, to own fleet of cars and acquire lands, and live in extravagance, Nehemiah saw leadership differently. He saw it as an opportunity to better the lot of the people rather than burden them so he could have pleasures. In some countries and groups, the cost of maintaining the leaders is so high that the nation or groups are milked dry by her leaders, but this ought not to be so. Let us all learn this important principle of generosity from Nehemiah, and make sacrifices to better the lot of the group we lead.
We see also great transparency and accountability in Nehemiah’s leadership. The book of Nehemiah is basically an account Nehemiah gave of his leadership. He made a detailed account of every event and the decisions he made. He accounted for all the monies that were donated towards the building project (Nehemiah 7:66-72). He showed off a high degree of transparency by explaining the motive behind his decisions and left no one in doubt of his sincerity. Not only was he accountable to his people, he was also accountable to King Artaxerxes who had commissioned him to embark on the work, and did not use the opportunity granted him by this Persian king to declare himself a king over Israel, and lead a revolt against the Persian empire which they had been in captivity for so long (Nehemiah 6:1-9). He recognized that they will as a matter of fact get total freedom in time and so it was. Leadership is at various levels, and therefore any leader who has others leading him at higher levels should not fail to render account of his leadership regularly to those above him in the rank of leadership. Transparency and accountability is of great importance to good leadership. Of greater importance was the fact that Nehemiah realized that beyond being accountable to the people he led and his superiors, he was above all else accountable to God. Every leader must understand that the ultimate account he must render of his leadership is to God, the creator of all mankind to whom we must all stand to be judged for the things we have done (2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27, Revelations 20:12). As earlier noted, it is God that grants anyone the ability of leadership and hence every leader must be accountable to God. This is the reason we see Nehemiah repeatedly say “Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people” (Nehemiah 5:19, 6:14). At the end of his account of his stewardship, he could boldly say, “Remember me, O my God, for good.”(Nehemiah 13:31). Thus, transparency and accountability in leadership can best be facilitated when we hold ourselves accountable to the almighty and sovereign God, Jehovah.

Nehemiah derived his strength for success at leadership solely from his love and fear of God. It is the love of God that motivated him to act on the behalf of God’s people. He saw that God’s people were in a state of deprivation and affliction and he must act to bring about positive change. He gave himself to be of service in God’s business. Every leader must have the realization that his service to people to enable them achieve the purpose of God for their lives is essentially a service to God. We are admonished to do all things as unto the Lord, leadership inclusive(Colossians 3:23-25). This is critically important and determines a leader’s decision to take up any leadership role. A leader with the love and fear of God cannot be such that will lead an armed robbery gang or sinister cult. Truly, leadership is to be found also among those committing evil in society, even prostitutes have leaders. Such evil groups also have leaders who spearhead their atrocious activities, but these are inspired and motivated by Satan, who is an enemy of God and man. It is therefore crucial that a leader knows whose side of the divide he or she is on. He must know from the onset whose commission he is to follow, that of God or that of Satan. Hence, any true and good leadership must have its foundation in God. In today’s secular society, many people would not want any mention of God with regards to leadership, little wonder then we have so much leadership failures. Nehemiah was successful at leadership because he loved the people God made and feared God not to engage in corrupt works and do evil to those he led. No leader with the love and fear of God will embezzle public funds or loot the treasury of the nation or group he leads. All of Nehemiah’s actions were motivated by love for God and reverence for Him (Nehemiah 5:9, 6:11-14).
Nehemiah not only loved and feared God, but led His people back to God (Nehemiah chapters 8,9,10). There may be so many religions today, but a true leader must not fail to point people to the only one that created Heaven and earth and all that is in it, Jehovah the Almighty God. We must direct our groups and society back to follow the just laws of God. Such a leader like Nehemiah will not only lead the group to succeed at set goals but bring about a reawakening and revival of people to the worship of God. This indeed is a different kind of leadership that we rarely see today but it is of crucial need for our family, our workplace, our community and our nation. Such leadership is what is what is required to restore moral rectitude in our generation. Will you be such a leader like Nehemiah? God is counting on you and if you yield yourself to Him, He will make you that leader who will be a great example for others in our time.

For you to become such a leader like Nehemiah, you must yield yourself to God and realize you have no good in you to offer without God. The Scriptures let us know that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). There is a deep seated greed and lust for power in every man which will spring up to corrupt any leader. There is no way you could have such a heart of love for other people like Nehemiah had, except you have the love of God. This is only possible when you surrender to God and accept the salvation He freely offers you by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ made for the whole world when he died on the cross of Calvary and resurrected over two thousand years ago. If you repent of your sins and believe in God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, you shall be saved, reconciled to God and have His love in your heart. I trust that you will pray to God today.
If you are not born again you may not have the power to succeed at leadership. If Jesus Christ, the good Shepherd leads you, you will be able to lead at your home, community, workplace and any sphere of life you are involved in.  Surrender your will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, ask Him for forgiveness of your sin by the precious blood He shed for your salvation from sin, and live everyday of the rest of your life in obedience to His word. He will indeed give you the power to be His child in this present corrupt world (John 1:12).

Will you surrender your life to Jesus Christ now?

Pray now.

“Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Today I repent of all my sins (name the sins you know you've been committing), and I give up every sinful habit and lifestyle. Forgive me, give me a new life and a new heart. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” 

If you have said this prayer with the whole of your heart, then be assured God has heard you and saved you. You now need to seek out a church around you where you will get to know God more and be baptized so you can live the new life you have received by Christ death and resurrection. I pray that you shall not be cast into Hell, but shall be welcome into Heaven to live eternally with God when your life in this world ends. God bless you.
God will make you become one among the many Nehemiahs He is raising in our generations. God bless you. Amen.

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