A Godly Leader Takes Action (Nehemiah 3)


(This is blog 3 in a series of blogs about leadership lessons from the life of Nehemiah.  If you missed the previous blogs, you can email me at jerry@schmoyer.net)

In the last blog we talked about the importance of being careful to get all the information needed to make a good decision.  Being careful is fine and important, but then there comes a time when a leader must act. After he had gathered all the information that was available, prayed, thought and planned, then Nehemiah took action.  He challenged the leaders and the people to move ahead and rebuild the city and its walls  (Nehemiah 2:17-18).

It is important to know when to be careful, but also important to know when to take action. Sometimes a leader can move ahead quickly without taking time to gather all the details. Others can hesitate too long and not act when it is time to act. Both extremes must be avoided.  We all tend to go to one extreme or the other. My wife and I balance each other out with this. Perhaps God has given you a mate or friend who can help you as well.

Notice, too, how Nehemiah motivated them to act. He didn’t blame or criticize. That just discourages people. He identified with them. He said, “You see the trouble WE are in…  Come let US rebuilt so WE will no longer be in disgrace” (Nehemiah 2:17-18). A godly leader identifies with the people to motivate them to action, so they want to follow.  A good leader knows where he is going, knows how to get there and knows how to take others there with him. Nehemiah could take others with him because he was one with them. He didn’t act like he was more important than them, telling them what do. Nehemiah shared his God-given vision and plan to rebuild the city and gave them hope it could be done, so they were willing to follow him.

Do you have a balance between caution and action? Who has God put in your life to help you find that balance? Can you identify with people you counsel, teach or lead so they trust you and willingly follow because you give them hope for the future? Or do you scold and criticize them for where they fail? How does God motivate you, with hope and encouragement or with criticism and condemnation?

When the time is right to act, a godly leader must have the plans ready to move ahead. These plans must include others in the work. He must give direction, but he needs the cooperation and help of others to make it happen. He must wisely delegate the work, no matter the size of the project. That’s what Nehemiah did. He assigned various groups of people to different sections of the wall and made rebuilding it their responsibility (Nehemiah 3:1-32). He was wise in how he did it. He assigned people sections of the wall near their own homes. That way they wouldn’t have to travel far to get to work, they would do their best job because they were protecting their own homes, and if attacked while building they would stay to defend their own homes.  They were motivated to do a good job, not forced to do something they weren’t sure about.

Also, Nehemiah expected everyone to work. Those who were leaders or who were rich were used to having others do work for them.  Nehemiah said there were none too good to work, and all were treated the same. No job was too unimportant to be done. He set an example of that by helping with the work himself. He worked right along with the people.

Nehemiah prayed and had great faith in God, but he didn’t stop there. He planned ahead and he organized the work. He delegated work to others. Faith is not a substitute for organization and delegation. God is an organized God.  Look at the world around us and how well everything works together. Everything God does is planned and well organized. Our work should also be that way.

Are you able to delegate work in your ministry, or do you think you need to do everything so it gets done right? Can you trust others to share your work, even if they do things differently than you? Would others say you are organized? Is your time organized so you are able to do all the important things first? If you aren’t good at organizing things, who can you get to help you who is good at it?


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