But that was only step one on this significant journey. Nehemiah…and every effective, godly leader….must remember to bring a compass. The leader is continually checking the trajectory of his or her life in relation to “true north.” For the leader, the most important reference point is their moral compass; their “true north.”
A lot of really good leaders get lost on this journey. They forgot to pack their compass, or they fail to consult it. They lose their way on the journey and compromise themselves morally or fail to course correct when it becomes obvious they are off track. The leader needs to know where the ultimate destination is going to be, and continually watch the needle of their moral compass to keep them on track and in focus as they travel.
The “perks” of leadership can sometimes be the thing that most pulls leaders off the path to their destination. Distractions of wealth, worldliness, or the allure of the flesh can blind a leader to the reason they ever began this journey. I have personally known a number of gifted, enabled, privileged leaders who gave it all away for a wrong choice morally. Their life, their family and many times even their follows are lost to a momentary decision made when the leader has lost their compass.
In the midst of the allure of the capital city of Susa, one of the most idolatrous and self-indulgent cultures of that day, Nehemiah kept his moral bearings. He continued seeking the Lord in the midst of the distractions of wealth, luxury, and the influence of foreign gods. He continued seeking the God of Israel as his “true north.” It was God’s direction he continued to follow. It was God’s voice that he listened for in the midst of the multiple noises of the world around him.
And it is that compass that we must be sure is in our backpack as a leader.
FOR MEMORIZATION: “Then the king asked me, `What is it that you want?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 2:4)
FOR REFLECTION: Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (wisdom). In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” If you have lost your moral bearings, the clearest path to finding your compass again is that verse. If we want to walk on straight paths….morally and ethically correct ones…this needs to be your “true north.”
photo credit: freeimages.com/Martin Land