Summary: Exposition of Nehemiah 2:9-20 about Nehemiah’s journey to Jerusalem and the first part of gathering the troops and casting the vision
Text: Nehemiah 2:9-20, Title: Leadership Essentials, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/9/07, PM
A. Opening illustration: Read the quotes about leadership on p. 27-28 of Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership down through Truman’s quote.
B. Background to passage: Four months after this intense burden for the kingdom and for Jerusalem, and after his presentation of that burden to Artexerxes, Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem bearing the letters that the king issued him. When he gets there he assumes command and gets his vision started with unusual prowess. In this he gives us several marks of godly leadership. Within a church, we tend to set the leadership standard at a certain level in our minds, and even when the leaders change, the standard doesn’t. We tend to get into ruts with expectations about ministry and discipleship. And since we have kinda entered a New Day at New River, my hope is that the leaders, and everybody catches the vision, adopts the vision, and pursues the vision. And that we can break the molds and the maintain the status quo mentality. So, my prayer tonight is whether you lead the prayer or social activities in your Sunday School class, or whether you are a ministry head, or deacon, or simply lead your family, you will take to heart the example Nehemiah sets.
C. Main thought: in the text tonight, we will see how a godly leader begins to achieve his God-inspired vision.
A. Assessed the Situation (v. 11-16)
1. What Nehemiah did was not as interesting and what he didn’t do. There was no pomp or triumphal entry, no public announcements, no royal delegation, no ball. In fact, for three days he didn’t do anything, or at least anything public. During these three days Nehemiah was doing some important things. I think Nehemiah was assessing the people. Remember the work had been stopped 13 years earlier, and people were probably discouraged, tired, and pessimistic. So, wisely Nehemiah says that he didn’t tell anyone about the vision that God had laid upon him. He just listened, talked, and tried to figure out who the key people in this project would be. Then it was time for his midnight ride with a few trusted men. On a moonlit night he set out to view the walls and the ruins for himself. The word used here was one used of a physician inspecting a wound with great care. No doubt he saw the trash and rubble that had built up there. And at that point, he surely began to formulate a plan based on the condition of the walls, the condition of the people, and the resources that he had available to him. He needed to formulate a plan that was conceivable, inspiring, and achievable.
2. Pro 24:3, Matt 10:16, Pro 20:18,
3. Illustration: “to get where you are going, you must know where you are.” NAMB gave us an hour long interview, then a four hour assessment after a bunch of written material. Bill McCartney retired as the head coach of the Colorado football team several years ago. His reason for retirement was not because he was unsuccessful as a coach. His teams had won the national championship. They had been in the top 10 many times. McCartney said that he was retiring because he wanted to reevaluate his priorities. He said, “I’m leaving coaching, & I’m going to take a whole year to re-evaluate my priorities. Is God first? Is my family second? Is my work third?” And when that year was over, Bill McCartney had dedicated his life & talents to Christ, & threw his efforts into founding the great men’s renewal gatherings that we know today as “Promise Keepers.”
4. A proper assessment of your ministry, your job, your family is necessary before you can begin to formulate a plan to get to where God is leading you. Sometimes we become blind to what is really there. So it is helpful as a leader to seek outside help in discerning problems, goals, and issues. However if you are a leaders, you cannot delegate the task of assessment; get help, but consider it your responsibility. You must also assess the status of your people around you. Are they discouraged, poised, prepared, apathetic, committed, spiritual, etc.? We should make a habit, at least periodically, of taking midnight rides of our ministries, our lives, our families, our jobs? Each new season of ministry or life should begin with some evaluation and assessment. When you are assessing, pray that God will give you openness in your spiritual eyes to see the things that you pass by everyday. Pray that God will help us get unused to the dark. Ask God to help you see where your life or the class you teach could be going, and help you with the proper planning of how to get there.