“And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.”
The future of a nation or organization is determined by its leaders. Show me what your leaders are like, and I can show you what your future will be. Dr. Lee Roberson used to say, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Certainly, a leader will only go as far as their followers will follow, but a follower will go nowhere without a leader leading.
The problem that we face is, where do we find leaders? Determining if a person is a leader is one of the hardest tasks to encounter. One of the greater leaders in the Scriptures was Nehemiah. He led a depressed people to become a victorious people who had a vision to do something for the LORD. There are four distinct characteristics Nehemiah had that every good leader will have. Let me share with you these four characteristics.
First, leaders work when others don’t work. Nehemiah “arose in the night” to see what work he had ahead of him. He worked while others slept. One thing you will always learn about leaders is that they work longer and later than everyone else. They get up earlier and work till late, while others get up late and quit early. Look no further than how long a person works to find a leader. Leaders are not clock oriented, but labor oriented. They work till the job is done, even if the job makes them get up early and forces them to work late. A leader works this way because they realize the importance of completing a task.
Second, leaders carry burdens that others are not willing to carry. Nehemiah carried the burden of rebuilding the wall in his heart. A person who drops responsibilities when they are inconvenienced is not worthy of leadership responsibility. A true leader doesn’t pawn burdensome tasks off on others; instead, they carry the load of what has to be done no matter how uncomfortable the load may be.
Third, leaders stir people to see a vision they cannot see. Nehemiah motivated the captives to see the possibility of the wall being rebuilt. One of the main monickers of a good leader is how they get others to do something they didn’t think they could do. Leaders have a way of motivating others to see beyond the average. The only reason a person can’t get others to follow them is because they are not capable of getting others to see the vision that they can see. Capable leaders have followers because they are able to get people to get excited about a vision that they couldn’t see without the leader.
Fourth, leaders don’t allow criticism to influence who they are and what they do. When the enemy tried to stop Nehemiah, he didn’t change what he did, but he kept building what he initially intended to build. Leaders will have the capability of staying focused on the task at hand when the noise outside is trying to pull their attention away. Leaders always receive criticism, but they have a way of muting the noise of criticism so they can continue to do what they are supposed to do.
Every good leader will have these four characteristics. Let me encourage you to work on any of these areas where you may be lacking for the sake of being a leader in the LORD’s work.