They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4
What's the most important characteristic of a leader? Vision? Perseverance? Inspiration? All those are important, but from the great leader Nehemiah, we learn that one characteristic leads the way. In today's passage, note the great compassion Nehemiah had for his fellow Israelites.
As cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah had it made. However, when he heard that his kinsmen were in "great trouble and disgrace" and that the protective wall surrounding Jerusalem had been demolished, he sat down and wept. His great compassion led to mourning, fasting, and prayer. Nehemiah was a man who lived beyond himself. He was willing to leave the comfort of the palace in order to serve those in need.
Today we need strong leaders who are willing to stand firm even if they have to stand alone. We need leaders who know and communicate God's message clearly to inspire others for action. Most of all, we need leaders who are not in it for themselves but are willing to make needed sacrifices to help others. We must have leaders--like Nehemiah--filled with great compassion.
Father, raise up leaders who are willing to make personal sacrifices in order to build others up. Raise up leaders like Nehemiah. In Jesus' name. Amen.