QUALITIES OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP
(From the life of Nehemiah)
If we look around the world today people are crying for leaders who will be able to bring changes for the betterment of society, community, organizations, and nations. This has been true in the secular world and Christian organizations throughout history. Today, specifically talking about Christians, we know that different churches and Christian organizations are in need of good godly leaders, and this has been one of the greatest needs since the beginning of the Church. So we know that leaders are vitally important for the well-being and growth of the Church.
Leaders play an important role in churches and societies, yet their responsibilities are not easy at all. Throughout history we can see that leaders have played an important part in leading, guiding, encouraging, and leaving a heritage for the generations to come. Many leaders fail to do the task they were responsible to perform, and some perform with flying colors but last for only a short time. But no matter how good a leader is, he does not stay forever. So, the most important thing a leader can do is leave a heritage for the generations to come and glorify God in all he does. Good leaders will always leave godly footprints which will guide future generations in the way they should go.
If one were going to talk about good leaders in the Bible, Nehemiah would be a prominent one. There are not many leaders like Nehemiah who completed the task of leadership successfully. Many leaders in the Bible are known as good ones, but they failed at certain points in their live. However, the Bible has no record of failure for Nehemiah. So in this paper, my intention is to present qualities that made Nehemiah a great leader. It is my prayer that we will be encouraged and learn something from the life of Nehemiah. I hope we will truly be applying these principles in our lives and be challenged and transformed. I believe we will be effective servant leaders if we prepare our hearts to do God’s work as Nehemiah did. Background History of Nehemiah
To talk about Nehemiah it would be good to begin with his historical background and a brief history of the Israelites so that we can better understand him. Nehemiah was the son of Hachaliah. He was born of Jewish parents in exile. His name “Nehem-Yah” means “the comfort of Jehovah.” From this it is possible to assume that Nehemiah’s home was a godly one. (Jensen, 46) He also had a brother Hanani (Neh. 1:2)
Looking back on the history of Israel, we know that after King Solomon reigned in Israel, the nation split into two kingdoms in 931 B.C. - the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern kingdom (Judah). After that there were no good kings in Israel, but in Judah there were a few partially good kings. Kings like Asa, Jehoshaphat, and a few others followed God’s will for some time; but they did not continue to follow God fully and wholeheartedly. So they failed at some time in their lives. Josiah was the only good king without blame that Judah had after Israel became two kingdoms (2 Kings 22:2).
Due to their wickedness God punished Israel and Judah. The two kingdoms were taken into captivity several times. The Northern Kingdom fell first, and the people were taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 772 B.C. After a few years, the southern kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians, and they were taken into captivity in 586 B.C. After forty-eight years in captivity, in 538 B.C., the Israelites first returned to Judah from captivity under the leadership of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:1-2:2). The second return was in 458 B.C. led by Ezra (Ezra 7:1-10). In 444 B.C. Nehemiah returned to Judah, and God used him to guide Judah in rebuilding the city walls and reordering the people’s social and economic lives (Zuck, 673). So there is a possibility that Nehemiah’s great-grandparents were taken into captivity in 586 B.C. when Jerusalem fell into Babylonian hands. This tells us that...
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