(Nehemiah 2:1-10) Nehemiah demonstrated three qualities that a leader needs in order to revitalize and renew the ministry of a church. The first of these is Patience.
Nehemiah waited four months before an opportunity arose to present his plans for rebuilding Jerusalem to the King. When a leader has a vision, there is the immediate desire to proclaim it to the world. If this is done too quickly, the results can be disastrous. Timing is vital to the success of a new idea.
Nehemiah's patience was rewarded when the King asked him what was wrong. One-on-one conversations with the King were rare and often unexpected. Nehemiah then demonstrated the second leadership quality needed for revival: Preparation.
During the four months of waiting Nehemiah prayed and prepared. He had an answer for all the King's questions. He knew how long it would take, what documents were required and where to acquire the needed construction material. Church leaders must likewise be prepared when presenting plans to the church. Critics will blow holes in a plan that is poorly presented, placing the leader in a defensive posture that will carry over to the next big idea.
Like Nehemiah, leaders need to be ready when an opportunity arises. One of the marks of an effective church is how quickly it can take advantage of a ministry opportunity. Had Nehemiah not been ready, it might have been another four months before he was summoned by the King again.
The third leadership quality needed for revival is the most essential. Nehemiah relied on God's Providence. God is always working behind the scenes. He places us right where He wants us. God landed Nehemiah a job that gave him an inside track to the King.
A big job requires big faith. Nehemiah knew the King's heart had to be changed. He had previously issued an order against rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. Proverbs teaches, “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him” (Proverbs 21:1). The King granted all of Nehemiah’s requests.
Nehemiah gave God all the glory. He gave testimony to the goodness of God, “…and because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests” (Nehemiah 2:8).
Only God could have brought about such a dramatic change in the King’s mind and the Jerusalem's destiny. Nehemiah was meticulous in his planning but it would not have been enough were it not for the Lord’s perfect timing, constant guidance, and overruling provision.
God has put in you in this place at this time. What you do and where you are right now is no accident. What vision has God given you? Will you follow the biblical example of Nehemiah?
The wise man looks ahead.
Hand Me Another Brick by Chuck Swindoll