Bishop Noel Pantoja
National Director, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC)
President, Philippine Relief and Development Services (Philrads)
NEHEMIAH: A VISIONARY LEADER
Every successful organization whether it is a business enterprise, government, civic, or church, need a clear vision – an image of the future. In all history, visionary leaders are called by God to communicate the vision clearly and to engage the people to embrace, own and live the vision.
One of the greatest visionary leaders in the Bible is Nehemiah. After hearing the horror and the despicable condition of his people and his city Jerusalem, God placed in his heart a vision to rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
Text: Nehemiah 2:9-20
Four months after this intense burden for Jerusalem, and after his presentation of that burden to King Artaxerxes, 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.
A. Know the Real Situation (v. 11-16)
Nehemiah had a clear assessment of the people. The people were 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.
And at that point Nehemiah 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 formulated a plan that was conceivable, inspiring, and achievable.
A proper assessment of the place and the real situation is necessary before you can begin to formulate a plan to get to where God is leading you. Every leader whether starting a work or in the middle of the work must have a habit of periodic assessment and evaluation of the real situation.
B. Rally the People to a Vision (v. 17-18)
Already known to be a man of excellent timing, Nehemiah chose his day to share with the people of Jerusalem what God had laid upon his heart, and convince them to join him. He did several things here that are essential in rallying the people.
First, he appealed to their sense of dignity by speaking about the distress of the city. He was probably linking it in their minds to the glory of God and the glory that Jerusalem was supposed to reflect of Him.
Second, he again identified with the people by saying we and us. Even though he had only been there three days, he was their brother and fellow burden bearer.
Next, he was open and honest about the condition of the walls and gates; trying to open their eyes to what they were living in and content with. And he challenged the people to commit to action. And finally, he assured them that God’s hand was in it.