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Nehemiah 5                 Servant leader            Pt1

There is a huge distance and contrast between a good leader and a bad one. We have all experienced bad bosses, people who use authority and poison for personal gain and to run their own agenda. I wonder however how many of us have experienced life working or living with a good leader one who serves and uplifts others…

In nehemiah 5 we see tremendous contrast between leaders and we get a bit more of an insight into Nehemiah the man.

Neh 5: 14 – 18: 14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people.

These verses give us great insight in to Nehemiah and what it was like to have him as a leader.

14 instructs us of Nehemiah’s role: He is Governor of Judah. A title appointed upon him by the king. This is the first mention of this and gives us extra insight into the opposition of the governors of neighbouring areas. The king has redefined boundaries once overseen by Sanballat and Tobiah and carved out a territory for the Jews. He has then placed Nehemiah over that area as Governor. So I can in some part understand some cause of opposition.

* 14-19 also instructs us as to how Nehemiah viewed his own leadership.

* 15 he Led under God in reverence or (fear)

* 16 He was devoted to what God had called him to do.  (persevered at the work)

* 17 He was generous with what he had been given by God. (150 + men at table)

* 18 He was considerate of the people. (I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people.)

So why is Nehemiah painting this picture for us? To give his ego a boost or to show how righteous he was?  NO vs 19 tells us he does not presume favour from God but asks for it humbly. 19 Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.

Now we are seeing this as a stark contrast to the behavior of the previous leaders vs 15 and the people of Jerusalem. vs 9. Nehemiah is living and leading differently out of reverence for God. Nehemiah is a leader and shepherd in the way of Jesus the great shepherd.

* What are your leaders like?… leading under God or serving self? 

* When you lead or when you are an example do you lead people to God or away from him?

The manager administers; the leader innovates. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why. The manager has his eye on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.  Warren G. Bennis

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.    John C. Maxwell

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King, Jr.”