Wise leaders use long-term vision to prevent mistakes in short-term decisions. Read Psalm 37.
Israel’s second king, David, had some roller-coaster moments in his life. He was anointed king by Samuel at age 15 but spent the next 15 years with trouble in one form or another perpetrated by Saul, the king in power. Saul sent ruthless men to kill him and even personally tried several times to kill David. When David became king there were times when his own generals, leaders in his army, rebelled against his leadership and even members of his own family let their evil side try to harm their own father. David had numerous life challenges but he did not allow them to drive his long-term decision making.
One of the basic things that separates a leader from those who desire to follow is their perspective and vision. Read Job 19:25-27.
Job had a profoundly different perspective and vision for life than did his friends and his wife. Job maintained an eternal perspective. He believed his redeemer lived and after his death he would still see his creator. (This may be one of the earliest Biblical references to the resurrection.) Job, after having lost everything from an earthly perspective and with a painful skin disease threatening to take his own life, cast a vision for a reality after the grave. Even after his friends told him if he had lived better he would not be in this condition and his wife told him to curse God and die, Job did not abandon his eternal perspective.
The period following a great leadership success can become a dangerous time. Leaders can be tempted toward being pleased with the accomplishment, basking in the praise and momentum can be lost. Effective leaders understand the difference between short-term goals and long-term vision. Read Nehemiah 6:15-7:3.
Nehemiah had overseen a physical miracle; the wall project was completed with a minimum staff of amateurs, under extremely adverse conditions in a record 52 days. When the neighboring nations heard about this, they lost self-confidence realizing this work had been done with the help of God. But similar to virtually every project that each of us deals with on a daily basis, completing the wall wasn’t an end-all solution but only a stepping stone in the process of protecting God’s city Jerusalem and unifying God’s people. It is common for even experienced leaders to become so involved in one major portion of the overall goal that they loose sight of the larger vision. Nehemiah did not fall prey to that problem.
Outsiders’ demands have a tendency to sidetrack a leader from accomplishing the goal. Effective leaders stay focused on the vision and goals rather than giving time to every peripheral demand. Read Nehemiah 6:1-9.
Several regional leaders had enjoyed great favor with the Persian kings and had great wealth and power from the area known as Judah before the Jews had resettled the land after the Babylonian exile. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem were all regional leaders or area governors of Judah and Jerusalem prior to the Jews being allowed to leave exile in Babylon to resettle the land. Every step the Jews made to become self-sufficient and a sovereign nation directly serving the king of Persia threatened their power over them and their ability to tax them. A wall being built around Jerusalem would greatly diminish their ability to intimidate the Jews living there and exacting taxes from this group would be virtually impossible.
When everything is going good even an average leader can sustain a team – at least for the short term. When everything seems to be in crisis great leadership is required to hold a project together and maintain forward progress. Read Nehemiah 4:9-23.
The people living in Jerusalem had begun rebuilding the wall under Nehemiah’s leadership. The enthusiasm ran high as the project started but after a few weeks the project had problems that would require great leadership:
Tags: Crisis Leadership