A LEADER AND HIS VISION
Last week, Father Theodore Hesburgh (former President of Notre Dame University) reminded us of the crucial nature of a leader’s vision. He wrote:
“Vision is the essence of leadership. Knowing where you want to go requires three things: Having a clear vision, articulating it well, and getting your team enthusiastic about sharing it. Above all, any leader must be consistent. As the Bible says, no one follows an uncertain trumpet.”
Nehemiah, an Old Testament Servant Leader, never blew an uncertain trumpet. Not when leadership was essential. His vision started with a gruesome report about his beloved Jerusalem. The city was under great distress—walls broken down, city gates burned to ashes, the sacred temple smashed, and few survivors, others deported to Babylon. Gruesome.
Nehemiah confesses the mess and the nation’s sin to God. “We have acted very wickedly toward you (Nehemiah 1:7). He was living in Susa, the capital city of Persia, serving in a royal position to King Artaxerxes.He asked permission from the king to take a leave of absence that he might return to the city of his ancestors. Permission granted. Once there, he hangs out touring Jerusalem, walking around, taking notes of the devastation, perhaps praying out loud, wondering what God has in mind.
In 2:17 of his book, Nehemiah rallies the civic and religious leaders along with the people and casts a powerful vision. “You see the bad situation WE are in. OUR city is wiped out. Come. Let US rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.” That’s the vision—a clear and compelling picture of the future. It was so clear and compelling (and passionate) it leaked out. The leaders and people bought it. “Let US arise and build!”
Chapter 3 looks like a Jewish telephone directory. It’s a list of names of who did what. Everyone worked together—civic leaders, religious leaders, families, singles. EVERYONE. No one goofed off. No one took vacation time. No one worked alone. They were one team fulfilling the vision. Vision drove them to labor to fulfill the vision.
Catch this. In 6:15, “the wall was completed in 52 days.” No engineers, no general contractors, no heavy-duty equipment, no gate companies specializing in gate repair. Just a leader’s vision and hard work.
In 6:16, “The enemies/nations surrounding us recognized THIS WAS THE WORK OF GOD.”
Anyone said that of your work lately. IT’S THE WORLK OF GOD.
TEAMWORK BEGINS WITH A SERVANT LEADER’S VISION.
Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org