Leadership Essentials

Elwin Ahu

"It came about that just as it grew dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and that they should not open them until after the sabbath. Then I stationed some of my servants at the gates so that no load would enter on the sabbath day." (Neh. 13:19)
It probably wasn't the most popular decision at that time. Neither was Nehemiah winning at the polls. He had just taken a stand against favoritism by one of the priests in the temple and reprimanded those in authority for failing to take care of the Levites and singers. Now he was intent on restricting the flow of commerce into the city on the Sabbath. No, he probably wasn't winning any popularity contests in the eyes of the people. But, in the eyes of the Lord, he was doing what was right, and it was all that mattered to him.

Nehemiah teaches us a great lesson about leadership: it's not about the popular vote; it's about doing what is right in the eyes of God. Leadership isn't about winning a popularity contest, or seeing who can come away with the Miss Congeniality title. It's not about who has the charismatic advantage or the eloquence in communication to win over voters in the public opinion polls. Leadership is about seeing a problem and having the courage to make decisions that may even run against the current of the popular vote of the majority.
We seem to have a shaded definition of leadership today. It's being defined by plans and proposals, promises and projections. But in the midst of the shuffle and the scramble for "air time" and name recognition, character and integrity seem to be buried beneath it all. And voters seem to gloss over the essentials of leadership in exchange for a person's demeanor, eloquence and appearance.

Leadership for our country, for our community, for our ministries demands more than promises and projections. It requires "able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain" (Exod. 18:211) who are willing to stand up for the Truth and honor God in all their decisions, regardless of the popular vote and polls.

I need to be such a leader wherever God has chosen to place me; in my ministry, in my family. To be able to make decisions that may cut against the grain of the "norm" won't win me any popularity contests, but with God's vote counted for me, we make up the majority. It requires me to discipline myself to seek God daily, so that I may know His plans and intentions, and to faithfully carry out what He's asked of me. I'd rather hear "well done" from the audience of One for doing what is right, than forfeiting His blessings for the sake of the popular vote.
Father, help me to develop the disciplines that will allow me to know You and the plans that You have for my life, and that I be able to please You in every decision that I make today. Help me to establish a depth of character and an inner integrity that will sustain me, especially in the face of cross currents caused by decisions that I make that may run counter to the popular vote. In all that I do, may it bring glory and honor to You.

Devotions for October 15

Nehemiah 13
Malachi 1,2
Acts 4

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