Thankful for examples of leaders

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Nehemiah has always been one of my favorite Bible characters for several reasons. The first thing that always comes to my mind when I think about him is that he had the guts or vision to act on his dream to rebuild the old walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah sought and received the king’s permission to take a large group of workers to Palestine to re-build the walls and restore the nation.

My pastor for whom I worked many years wrote a sermon, Building and Battling, detailing with the components of Nehemiah’s adventure. I learned many valuable truths while working on this sermon of old. Our work was later turned into a best selling book by the same name.

Nehemiah had to learn to keep his workers motivated while the building was taking place, but he also had to learn to battle the enemies that rose up against him during the process. We seldom start out to do something for God that we aren’t discouraged by our fellow man or woman.

Many times in life the discouragement doesn’t come from the outside, but from the inside. Our own family and friends lament and tell us why we cannot do the job or reach our goal. “You probably cannot do that new job you’ve taken.” “I don’t think you have enough money set aside to complete this project.” “They won’t like you.” The Devil uses comments like this to defeat, discourage, and dampen our spirits while we try to work.

The thing that stuck in my heart then and is still here today is that Nehemiah was not deterred in his heart or his actions of reconstructing the walls. He had a task, or a job, and he vowed to get it done to the glory of God.

Chapter six of this Old Testament book is super interesting. We see that Nehemiah had built the walls as he purposed he would do although he had not placed the gates. His enemies, Sanballat and Tobiah, sent messages to Nehemiah telling him to stop, take a break, and come and talk with them in one of the villages.

Nehemiah was astute. He knew they wanted to do him harm. Nehemiah 6:2, he says, “they wanted to do him mischief.” Thank God he recognized their evil intent and did not fall for it. They did not give up. They sent the messengers four different times. Repetition is a tool of the Devil. He will try his best to wear us down, cause us to give up or give in with discouragement which can lead to defeat.

Verse 3 is an encouragement to all Christians, and I love it. Nehemiah said loud and clear, “I sent messengers unto them saying, ‘I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and come down to you?'”

Nehemiah had the good sense to know he was building something that mattered. He was thoroughly engaged in doing a great thing. He knew the walls and gates were important and he vowed in his heart to complete the task he had accepted until it was complete.

For us to be successful, we must believe the task or work we are involved in is important. We feel good about our labor when we know we gave it our best shot, worked hard, prayed over it, encouraged others, and completed it to the best of our ability.

Thank God, He chose to give us examples of leaders that we may pattern after to be successful and happy. Next week, we will look at things that matter in which can be involved.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at 409 781 8788, or
[email protected]


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