“Nehemiah? What’s in that one again?” – Pretty much what went through my head as my Bible opened to Nehemiah 8. Turns out, there’s a pretty cool example of God’s love for people, plus some really helpful leadership takeaways:
And if these kind of videos aren’t your cup of tea, here’s a summary:
“They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.” – Nehemiah 8:8-12 (NASB)
1. The leaders took the time to explain the law to the people. As the leaders took the time to explain in a way the people understood, the people began weeping because they were so moved by what was being taught. God moved as those leaders intentionally stewarded their responsibility, and the lives of the people were changed because of it.
2. The leaders comforted the people when the people were so moved by what they heard, they began weeping. Rather than holding the people’s shortcomings over their heads, the leaders recognized change was taking place and they let that change happen. They didn’t disqualify people who God was moving among.
3. God loves us so much! If you’re worried because it’s been a while, don’t be. It had been a while in this case too, but still the people were told: “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” This was shared with people who hadn’t been following God for a long time. They made a genuine decision of repentance, and it was met with celebration.
- Do we take the time to communicate in a way others can understand? People all come from different backgrounds and types of understanding – and that’s ok. That’s part of what makes us who we are, and that’s part of the beauty in the Body of Christ.
- Do we take the time to understand the truth so we can communicate it better? Are we trying to force it as a Christian “to-do” or are we actually seeking God through it and seeking to glorify Him through the opportunities He gives us?
- What is our perception of people? Is there anyone we have convinced ourselves could never change? Are we receptive to when God moves in the lives of people who have walked away from Him in the past?
- Do we try to fix people or do we lead people to Christ so He can touch them and help them become whole again?
- When change is happening, do we let it happen or are we another obstacle those people need to overcome?
- Are there any areas in our lives where we continue “weeping” or holding on to our shortcomings, when God has given us the freedom to let go and move forward? Are there any people we define by their past shortcomings instead of letting them move on according to what God is doing in them?
As always, I’d love to hear any questions, thoughts, or examples that come to your mind as well. 🙂
Here’s to the journey!