Nehemiah 7:5-6, 61-73
5 So my God gave me the idea to call together all the nobles and leaders of the city, along with the ordinary citizens, for registration. I had found the genealogical record of those who had first returned to Judah. This is what was written there: 6 Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived.
61 Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan, and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel. 62 This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 642 people. 63 Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.) 64 They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests. 65 The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots. 66 So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, 67 in addition to 7,337 servants and 245 singers, both men and women. 68 They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules, 69 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. 70 Some of the family leaders gave gifts for the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 gold coins, 50 gold basins, and 530 robes for the priests. 71 The other leaders gave to the treasury a total of 20,000 gold coins and some 2,750 pounds of silver for the work. 72 The rest of the people gave 20,000 gold coins, about 2,500 pounds of silver, and 67 robes for the priests. 73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.
Fifth leadership principle
- Preservation – Vs 5
It’s here that Nehemiah points to the past because these people needed to understand the significance of their past. What Nehemiah does is make their history a living history that will serve the present and the future. Throughout Israel’s history God often had them build memorials as a reminder of what he had brought them through and where he had brought them too. We too need a reminder of both what God has brought us through and too. This is not about living in the past it’s about learning from the past. If you want to get reenergized take time to remember your roots and what God has done in your life. If we don’t remember when we have come from we will forget where we are going. The sixth leadership principle is:
- Purity – Vs 63-65
We need leaders that have a passion for pure faith. Now the context that we find here is families who applied to the priesthood, but they cannot accurately establish their genealogy. As a result, they are excluded. Now, this was not about a pure race it was about a pure faith. God was the one who set up the priesthood Nehemiah was just protecting it. Likewise, we also need to make purity a priority because if we don’t it will not be long before just like the nation of Israel we will compromise and bow to other beliefs. We live in a world that demands that we consider the Christ of Christianity as just as one of many ways to get to heaven. But we should never give up on the purity of our belief or fail to defend it. There is only one way to come to God and that is through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross of Calvary. You don’t come to God through Buddha it’s the blood of Jesus, it’s not about Mohamad it’s about the Messiah Jesus Christ. It’s not about being good it’s about God’s grace. So let me ask you do you have a passion for purity or are you polluting God’s principles. Many of the people who call themselves Christians are making compromises because they are chasing after a comfortable life instead of a Christ-centered one. The last leadership principle is one Nehemiah not only preached but one he practiced over and over, it’s a:
- Pattern of Giving – Vs 70-72
Leaders that love the Lord will sacrificially give to God. Notice that Nehemiah models the message by leading in sacrificial giving. Many pastors ask their parishioners to sacrificially give but are they leading by example? Notice that Nehemiah gave so much more than just giving a tithe or a tenth. “The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 gold coins, 50 gold basins, and 530 robes for the priests.” And notice that the people followed his lead. You want your people to have a heart for God and desire to give to Him, then you have to model sacrificial service. If leaders don’t lead the way no one will follow. You have to show them what it looks like to be a cheerful giver. Now I want you to notice that these gifts were given at a time when things were tight for the nation of Israel. They were not a powerful and prosperous people and times were tough. But even though the economics of the time were far from stable, the people put God first. We need the reminder that tithing is not based on the times its based on trusting God. It’s here that Nehemiah reveals that tithing is tied to the heart, not the head, giving because you want to, not because you have to. God loves a cheerful giver, not a compulsory one. What you leave with the Lord will be based on your love for Him. Sadly because many have a small love for the Lord what they leave is little. We give Him just a little of our time, talents and treasures, investing the rest in earthly things instead of the eternal. So what kind of a leader are you, how are you doing when it comes to your priorities, passing the baton, seeing the potential, prayer, preservation, purity and your pattern of giving?