As I’m reviewing the year, I’m seeing how Nehemiah has been teaching me this year. Here are five of the lessons I’m learning. (These are all excerpts from “A Great Work.” Follow the link to order or review it.)
Pray every day.
“Are you saying,” I asked, “That every morning and every evening, your prayer was simply acknowledging sin, asking God to listen to you, and asking for a good reputation with your boss?”
Nehemiah nodded. “It’s simple to say. It’s harder to do than you would think.”
Have confidence that God answers.
Nehemiah assumed that if he was asking God for wisdom and opportunity, then the ideas that came, the plans that were laid out, were the wisdom. When the king asked Nehemiah what he wanted, that was the opportunity Nehemiah had asked for.
Be an involved leader.
“My men and my brother and I did the best we could to let everyone know we were aware. We were the first ones on the job. We were the last ones to bed. We had coffee ready when the crew got up. If anyone wondered whether the leaders cared, they only had to listen for the scrape of our swords on the rocks by the latrine.”
Being an effective leader means that you care enough about the work you are assigned to do that you believe that you can’t follow rabbit trails. That while you are on duty, you are on duty. That you would never let yourself walk away while you are in the middle of a project where you hold the vision and you care about the outcome and you are passionately concerned about protecting the hands and hearts of the rest of the team. You accept the significance of your leadership because you understand that serving means owning up.
Retell the important stories.
Nehemiah leaned forward. “Leaders tell stories that lay out the values, that remind people in the group why the group exists. And they tell these stories over and over, even in times of crisis. Maybe even to prevent times of crisis.”
I’m curious. What are the value-carrying stories you need to keep retelling?