Nothing—absolutely nothing—pulls a team closer together or strengthens the lines of loyalty like love. It breaks down internal competition. It silences gossip. It builds morale.
What keeps you from trying something new and different? Afraid you'll blow it and have to start over? Chuck Swindoll thinks that may not be the worst outcome after all.
As we turn to Nehemiah 4:9-23, we find Nehemiah’s work crew discouraged for the first time since the project of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem began. But what caused the discouragement? How did Nehemiah handle it? The answers to these questions apply directly to the discouragement many leaders face today.
We all have the same dream: to have a fulfilled life by reaching our maximum potential without conflict or stress. But is it possible?
As soon as Nehemiah and his crew began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, opposition and criticism broke out and constantly bombarded them from all sides. Nehemiah’s example teaches us that it is possible not only to stay at our task regardless of the opposition but also to do it in a way that deepens our walk with God. Criticism may knock us down, but it doesn’t have to knock us out!
Nehemiah faced the immense task of inspiring those around him to pick up bricks and begin a gruelling project. Some were young novices with soft, callous-free hands. Others were old and accustomed to living without the wall—perhaps lethargic and disinterested. The sands of time had smothered much of the patriotic zeal that had once burned in the hearts of the Jews.
When the clock is ticking and frustration abounds, how do you cope with delay and find peace instead of panic, contentment instead of confusion?
While carrying his great burden for the people and conditions in Jerusalem, Nehemiah began the tough job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem…by getting on his knees in prayer. He asked God for compassion and understanding to come to the heart of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1:3–4, 11).
Few Old Testament characters surpass Nehemiah in the potency of their leadership. God used him to motivate and direct a relatively small group of people in building a wall around the city of Jerusalem and then to establish a godly government. Nehemiah discovered Jerusalem’s desperate need and then brought it before God in prayer. It is highly significant that the first place we find this great leader is on his knees. Leadership requires prayer.