Archive for March, 2012

Continuing on the discussion of leadership principles from the book of Nehemiah, I would like to briefly comment on two simple principles that can be easily overlooked.

1. A leader boldly and unapologetically proclaims truth (Nehemiah 5.9)

In Nehemiah 5.9, Nehemiah calls out his followers who are choosing to live in a manner that is against God’s standards.  In verse 6 we find that Nehemiah is “very angry”.  He calls out his followers and does not care who hears.  He recognized that the need for true proclamation was far greater than the need to feel good.  Sin can not be overlooked with believers to keep peace.  God’s standards must always override the standard of sinful men.

In verse 7 we are told that Nehemiah contended with the nobles and rulers.  Regardless of how influential people are a leader must do the right thing.  In the New Testament, we find John the Baptist getting imprisoned and ultimately beheaded due to a proclamation of truth.  At times truth is not accepted or appreciated by man but it is always expected by God.  When the world around us to chooses to cheapen the standard of God’s Word, that is when true men and women of faith show their true colors.  In Daniel 1.7 we find a statement that says, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…”  True the statement was talking about food but ultimately it was talking about a lifestyle of a godly man.  Truth is not something that happens by accident.  At the end of the day, all I have is my integrity.  My responsibility  is to make sure that my integrity remains in tact even if it means that my social status must be sacrificed.  After all, what is more important to me….Man’s perception…or…God’s expectations???

2.  A leader does not require from followers that which they will not do (5.16)

This is a principle that no leader should have to be reminded of but it is one that must be stated and stated often.  In Nehemiah 5.16 Nehemiah says, “I also applied myself to the work on this wall.”  The word applied can also be interpreted as held fast.  Nehemiah did not just ask his followers to work but dedicated himself to the same work.  In other words, he did not tell them what to do, he showed them what to do.

What is the lesson for leaders here?  If you aren’t willing to model it, don’t talk about it!  Jesus did not just tell people to love the poor and meet their needs but he loved the poor and met their needs.  In John 21 Jesus tells Peter to “Feed My sheep.”  He did not offer a whole lot of explanation to the how.  Why?  Because He had modeled to Peter for three years what feeding His sheep looked like.  Why can a man like the apostle Paul say things like “Follow my example” (Phil. 3.17; 1 Cor. 11.1)?  Was it arrogance?  No he understood how a good leader operates.  Paul told them what to do but as a Christ follower he showed the believers in his life how to live.

If the people that you lead never did what you said but always did what you do, what would your church look like?

Edicts are great but examples are greater…