Selfless Leadership

Nehemiah 2:11-20 (NIV)

11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on.

13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and re-entered through the Valley Gate.16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”

20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”

Nehemiah was very strategic in his planning.  He wanted to rebuild the city, but he had to go there to evaluate the current conditions and what needed to be done.  He went out at night, making sure that he wasn’t bringing attention to himself.  Unlike the Pharisees that Jesus challenged for wanting to be noticed, Nehemiah was a great leader who did not want to be noticed.  He didn’t announce his intentions nor did he want to be seen.

Once he finished his analysis, he gave the assessment to the officials there and rallied them together in unity to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.  He focused the attention on God and the pride of the city of God’s people.  We can learn a lot from his leadership skills and how he focused on the words ‘let us rebuild’ and ‘we will no longer be in disgrace’.  The emphasis was on the people and not on himself.  That is selfless leadership, much like Jesus showed to many of his followers.

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