Saturday, 25 October 2014

A COMPASSIONATE OR A CRUEL LEADER?


TEXT: NEHEMIAH 5:14-19
14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15 But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land.
17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.
19 Remember me with favour, my God, for all I have done for these people.

A leader is someone who influences a group of people to achieve a goal or purpose. A leader is the one that leads by example for others to follow him. He is the one that is committed to the goals of an organisation or an establishment. We have different types of leadership style, the type of the leader you are determines the type of the followers you will have. From the definition above, it shows that leaders have influential power on their followers; they influence their followers either positively or negatively. If you are nice and compassionate to your followers, they will in turn be nice and supportive for your vision to be accomplished, but if you are cruel and wicked to them, they will also be mean and make every effort to see to your down fall! An autocratic leader will breed rebellious and insubordinate followers, this could lead to anarchy.
From the text, we can see that Nehemiah showed an example of a leader that led with the fear of God. He saw how the people were suffering, how the poor were being oppressed by the rich among them. When the poor complained, Nehemiah took it upon himself he summoned the usurers and rebuked them, he used his position to deliver the poor from being oppressed.
Verse 14 talked about how Nehemiah forgoes his lawful emoluments attached to his government, he did not eat the food allotted to the governor, because he was a compassionate governor, he could empathise with the poor. He does not want to burden his people with his position as the governor. He made this known in verse 18b “I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people”.
Nehemiah was feeding one hundred and fifty Jews and officials; as well as people from other nation, out of his own resources. Remember as a leader you will not be there forever, is either you leave at the expiration of your tenure, or by death (for lifetime position). Whichever way you CANNOT be there forever, one day you will be out of the office! The question is how do you want to be remembered? Will your exit be a relief to your followers or will you be greatly missed? A leader that is walking in the fear of God will not be greedy or cruel to his followers, if you are a child of God, you won’t find it pleasant to be a problem to your fellow brethren. Nehemiah delivered the poor and the needy from the hands of the oppressors by calling the oppressors to order, he used his position as the governor to minister to the needs of his people. Rather than being a burden to them; he lifted the burden of the masses by providing them with food at his table, he deprived himself from eating governor’s food just because he was a compassionate leader.

Are you are compassionate leader or you are a cruel leader? Don’t forget whatever you sow you shall reap in due season.


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