Is leadership something that we aspire to or something to which we are called? In some cases it’s both. In many cases it’s the first. In biblical terms, it’s the latter. We are looking into the life and heart of a leader that God built, literally from the ground up. Nehemiah as far as we can see, had no aspiration to be a leader. He was not running for office. He had a comfortable life, a position of prestige and influence, the ear of the King and nothing restless within him to make him want to be anything else.
But God interrupted his life. Or more accurately, aimed his life in the direction He had always intended. God “dislocated” Nehemiah’s heart, to borrow a phrase from Chip Ingram. “And it came to pass when I heard these words that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4). When a joint is dislocated, it is all you can think about until it is fixed. When a heart is dislocated, it is all you can think about until something begins to be done for resolved the issue.
Biblical leaders are called. They have a sense that God intended them for this role… that He had “known them when they were still in their mother’s womb” (Jeremiah 1:5). A calling is a sense of drawing toward and being pushed toward a certain direction… often both at the same time. C.H. Spurgeon called the pastor’s calling a sense of being “compellingly induced.”
Our “calling” to be a leader with excellence may not have as dramatic a sense as that. For Nehemiah, his calling was not to be a pastor or shepherd or prophet or preacher… it was to build a wall. To be a part of fulfilling a promise God had made… and intended to keep. A sense of being THE ONE who had to do something about this… and not being able to find peace or rest until he was released to that task.
Nehemiah was called. He never was asked… he was broken within and the only way out of that sense of brokenness was to take on the role of a leader to complete an unfinished task. He was never prepared for what he had been called to do… God trained him as he went by faith.
Maybe, like Nehemiah, God has “dislocated” your heart over something… perhaps a project or a specific job. Maybe God has touched and dislocated your heart over a need that must be met… a people group that must be reached… a compelling problem that has broken your heart… a need to make the glory of God known in your world. You may feel inadequate for the task and unprepared to undertake it. Good. So was Moses. So was Nehemiah. So was Jeremiah.
And what we find is that in our weakness God’s strength can most perfectly be seen. Trust God.
And then by faith take the next step!
FOR MEMORIZATION: But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
FOR REFLECTION: A calling is being worked out when you are able to see a need that few others or no others can see. What is needed in your world that you have the ability to see but others may not? Is God calling you to do something about that? Is He raising you up to be a leader?