Nehemiah 3:16 — Leading by Doing
After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, official of half the district of Beth-zur, made repairs as far as a point opposite the tombs of David, and as far as the artificial pool and the house of the mighty men.
The Book of Nehemiah tells us of a man who was an excellent leader very much like an orchestra conductor. Nehemiah was deeply committed and involved in the work and issues at stake. He even knew how to develop other leaders. For this reason, religious books on the topic of leadership often go to Nehemiah. We see in our text one of the men whom Nehemiah developed as a leader. This man held a position of prominence, and he was personally involved in the work. The man’s name was Nehemiah, but he was not the Nehemiah who led the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. Nehemiah was working for a cause much greater than himself. We learn one valuable lesson from the second and lesser Nehemiah. Leadership means involvement in the work.
Nehemiah assigned Nehemiah a southern portion of the wall as his responsibility. The section of the wall began on the eastern side of the city opposite from the tombs of David. The tombs of David were graves dug out of the rock of the side of the temple mount. These tombs were considered as a memorial. How important were the tombs? Apparently, the tombs of David were something preserved and visited even after Jesus’ time. Peter makes reference to the visits made by the Jews to the sepulcher of David in his Day of Pentecost sermon. The section of wall continued north to a pool long lost to modern archeology. The pool was apparently near what is called the house of the mighty, most likely the barracks for David’s men of valor. The exact locations of each of these places is unknown today, but we may conclude from archeology that the section of wall under Nehemiah’s supervision was not a long portion.
The leaders were humble enough to do the work. They realized that the cause for which they were working was greater than themselves. The leaders of Tekoa who refused to do the work could not see beyond themselves and their own inconvenience or discomfort to involved themselves such a difficult task. Any person who desires to be a leader must realize that leadership is not about self-ambition or self-convenience. A good leader works for a cause greater than himself and greater than the group which he leads. Such a realization can only be called a servant’s heart. When you think about a servant, you realize that he works for a cause greater than himself. He does what falls under his responsibility. He does it to the best of his ability. He does it with the understanding that he does not matter; the only thing that matters is the will of his master.
What are your thoughts on this verse?
What characteristics do you most appreciate in your leaders?
If you are not a leader, in what ways can you apply this text to your life?
Is there work for the Lord that you ought to be doing?