4 Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. 5 Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it
Nehemiah 63-65, 70-72
63 and of the priests: the sons of Habaiah,the sons of Koz,the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name.
64 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but it was not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 65 And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.70 And some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the work. The [u]governor gave to the treasury one thousand gold drachmas, fifty basins, and five hundred and thirty priestly garments. 71 Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the treasury of the work twenty thousand gold drachmas, and two thousand two hundred silver minas. 72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand gold drachmas, two thousand silver minas, and sixty-seven priestly garments.
The third leadership principle to look for involves:
- Potential – Vs 4
Nehemiah writes, “At that time the city was large and spacious, but the population was small, and none of the houses had been rebuilt.” Nehemiah observed correctly, that although Jerusalem’s walls were built, the city was empty. He reminds us that leaders should not be satisfied with the status quo. It would have been tempting to sit back and be satisfied with the work on the walls, but Nehemiah not only saw great potential, he made plans to pursue it. What about you do you see the potential in the places and the people that God has put in your life? Or are you tempted to sit back and be satisfied with the status quo? When that happens, we don’t just settle for second we surrender to Satan, because his plan involves complacent Christians who are content with maintaining instead of moving. Lazy leadership in the church is not of the Lord, if we settle for maintaining then we are not only courting complacency we will cripple and even kill the church. For a while the church will look like its ok but just like the titanic it won’t be long before it begins to list under the weight of more and more selfish servants who make the mission personal happiness instead of perusing holiness. When we trade Christ’s commission of seeing souls saved for that of comfort the church will go from fruitful to feeble. Nehemiah was progressive he saw the potential but there are those who have poor insight on the future? For example a Western Union internal memo in 1876 said…“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” In the 1920s, David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio said…“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” Or one which is closer to our time, a Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service…“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” Fred Smith, by the way, went on to found Federal Express Corp. Nehemiah saw the potential, great leaders paint a picture of what could be. The Fourth leadership principle:
- Prayer – Vs 5
“Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy.”Leaders need to know the heart of God, and that only comes through time on your knees. Your greatest asset is not your ability it’s your availability before the Almighty. Look the plan to repopulate Jerusalem was the result of time in prayer not Nehemiah’s proficiency. Nehemiah’s success stems from sitting with the Savior. Nehemiah protected himself from pride by pursuing God in prayer. Prayer requires time in God’s presence, great leaders do life with the Lord because they know they are dependent on Him for direction. So, let me ask you how much time do you spend in prayer? Remember Nehemiah’s call to go and rebuild the walls came from months of fasting and prayer. But prayer wasn’t just at the beginning it is the consistent theme throughout the project. We don’t just start with prayer we are sustained through prayer.