I spent part of the morning reading a management memoir book.
You know the kind. A person is incredibly successful, through remarkable challenges. They overcome repeated adversity. They write a book about their success, turning it into a guidebook of sorts, telling what they learned and what we can learn too.
In this one, the writer is sent away from home. Like going from Chicago to New York. Walking. He somehow finds a job serving a top political figure. The job itself isn’t very high status, personal bartender, but it makes him a confidant. He leveraged that relationship to become the official government representative back to his home region. When he gets there, he has to complete a major public works project, navigate political intrigue, and restore the community culture. Along the way, he restructures the welfare system and reforms the religious hierarchy.
He accomplishes this work with amazing speed and skill. He works in a self-sacrificing way, serving rather than demanding attention. He demonstrates an interesting blending of spirituality and practicality (“we prayed to our God and then posted a guard.”) He clearly identifies both his allies and his opponents by name. At more than one point, he expresses hope that what he’s done will turn out for the good, that he will be remembered for his integrity.
It’s a familiar storyline. Some of us have read a dozen of these, even one or two this week. What makes this particular story interesting to me is that it’s really old, the autobiography of Nehemiah. What also makes it interesting is that Nehemiah is a good leader and a good follower of God. We talked about seeking God’s kingdom yesterday and early rising habits on Monday. Nehemiah provides glimpses of each.
Check it out. Let me know what you think.
This was published in 2011, some of my early writing on what became A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works.