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Lessons to Learn from the Leadership Style of Nehemiah as a Man with a Large Heart: Nehemiah was known to be the cupbearer of a king in the citadel of Susa. Cupbearers are officers of high rank who serve the wine at the king’s table. This office was a lucrative one and attracted honour. The Cupbearer is required to taste the king’s drink before serving the king in order to protect him from poisoning. For someone to occupy this position, he must be trustworthy. The king would as well cater for him because he knows his ‘life’ is in his hands. While Nehemiah was probably enjoying the ‘Air Conditioner’ inside the king’s palace and the king’s delicacies as the king’s Cupbearer, one of his brothers with some other men from Judah came to him. As a good leader, his position didn’t make him forget the Jewish remnant that survived the exile and Jerusalem, the holy city. He was always having them in mind which was evident in the questions he asked his visitors (Nehemiah 1:1-2), though his immediate environment could have made him comfortable and forget about his people. Leaders with a large heart like Nehemiah are always concerned about their people. Suffice to say that they are not sympathizers but empathizers. For a great leader, especially one with a large heart, distance is never a barrier to keep in touch with his people. These people brought a bad report to Nehemiah; the people he was concerned for were in great trouble and disgrace. Worst still, the wall of Jerusalem, his home, was broken down and its gates had been burnt with fire: “…When I (Nehemiah) heard these things I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (verse 3-4). It should be noted that any leader can feel sorry about an unpleasant situation that is facing his people, but leaders with a large heart will put themselves in the position of those facing the challenges. They understand the people’s feelings and will do everything in their capacity to help the people out of that mess. Nehemiah wept as if he was the one facing trouble and disgrace. Ordinarily, he could just say, “All is well” and offer some money to be given to the Jewish remnants and for the rebuilding of the wall while he continues his enjoyment in the citadel of Susa, but his large heart wouldn’t permit him to do that. He wore a sad look which caught the attention of the king as he presented the case before him (Nehemiah 2:3). He would not request the king to send a messenger to his people, but he sought for permission to go by himself. Not only that, he demanded for letters to be sent to people in authority and all these was granted. Nehemiah was able to influence the king and also influenced his people to rebuild the wall. Great leaders discover a problem and find solution to the problem. He used his position to bring about a lasting solution to the problems of his people. Only leaders with a large heart will say like Joseph, “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7). This was the mindset of Nehemiah. Enemies of progress came around to mock and ridicule the builders of the wall, but Nehemiah would not be discouraged. Leaders with a large heart receive several discouragements from people. Sometimes, people will mock and ridicule you when you embark on a big project as a leader, the only thing that will keep you moving is a large heart. When enemies of progress or vision killers buffet, the leader with a large heart ignores them. By so doing, they have been defeated already!
From what I could understand of this man - do not let enemies of God damage your resolve. I believe he was full of godly fear and this made him meticulous in his execution of duties given to him by God. Faith is key, but fear ensures the job gets done correctly.
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