Thursday, May 07 2009
The structure of any organization or following is its people. It is difficult as a leader to have a constant state of "happiness". Nehemiah's "organization" was no different and he wrote in chapter 5 verse 1 - 5 (Amplified)...
NOW THERE arose a great cry of the [poor] people and of their wives [driven to borrowing] against their Jewish brethren [the few who could afford to lend].
For some said, We, our sons and daughters, are many; therefore allow us to take grain, that we may eat and live! If we are not given grain, let us take it!
Also some said, We are mortgaging our lands, vineyards, and houses to buy grain because of the scarcity.
Others said, We have borrowed money on our fields and vineyards to pay the [Persian] king's heavy tax.
Although our flesh is the same as that of our brethren and our children are as theirs, yet we are forced to sell our children as slaves; some of our daughters have already been thus sold, and we are powerless to redeem them, for others have our lands and vineyards.The problems of the people were legitimate issues. They were being taken advantage of by those of great wealth and if continued would have created a division among the people. Often times, leaders must face issues head on. The solution may not always be satisfactory to both sides, but a leader must make decisions that are not popular and ensure that they are followed. A "wishy - washy" leader is not a true leader, but a pawn of those that have the current influence.
Nehemiah did what a good leader should do and attack the issue head on. Nehemiah 5: 6 - 11...
I [Nehemiah] was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.
I thought it over and then rebuked the nobles and officials. I told them, You are exacting interest from your own kinsmen. And I held a great assembly against them.
I said to them, We, according to our ability, have bought back our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations; but will you even sell your brethren, that they may be sold to us? Then they were silent and found not a word to say.
Also I said, What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts and reproach of the nations, our enemies?
I, my brethren, and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us stop this forbidden interest!
Return this very day to them their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses, and also a hundredth of all the money, grain, new wine, and oil that you have exacted from them.Communication is the key to the success of any organization. Nehemiah communicated with the parties involved and found the solution was satisfactory to them in verse 12...
Then they said, We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say. Then I called the priests and took an oath of the lenders that they would do according to this promise.
I found what Nehemiah said in verse 19 encouraging to me as a leader. He ask God to think of good of him because he had done good for the people. This shows a personal side of Nehemiah. Every leader invests in their followers and Nehemiah was simply asking for a return. A blessing for himself for blessing others. Nehemiah said...
O my God, [earnestly] remember me for good for all I have done for this people.