Nehemiah 5 – Leadership is about Serving

I have heard some real positive things from this series and I am delighted to come back to it today with the next installment.  If you have missed any, you can view them in the Sunday Series section.

Nehemiah 5 – Leadership is about Serving 

lead by doing the right thing

Part 1-Serving by doing right

1. Nehemiah hears about a great injustice going on.  There was such hardship among them that in order to even buy grain they had to sell their kids into slavery.  This is wrong and Nehemiah was angered by it.  “When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.” (Nehemiah 5:6)  The people were suffering and something needed to be done.

Leadership Principle # 1-  Leaders are close enough to the people to see their suffering, have compassion for them and act on their behalf.

2. Nehemiah is very angry with all that is going on.  However, he doesn’t just stew in anger. Instead he pondered what he should do about it.   He came up a with a plan to challenge the people in how they were treating each other.

Leadership Principle # 2-   Leaders confront the wrong that is going on before them simply because they know it is wrong.

3.  Nehemiah’s challenge did not just come out of anger for what was happening.  It came out of a heart connected to the purposes of God.  He says, “What you are doing is not right.  Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?” (Nehemiah 5:9)

Leadership Principle # 3- Leaders are connected to the purposes of God and draw from that connection in the way they challenge people in right and wrong.

4.  Nehemiah’s heart was broken for what the people were doing to each other.  He confronts what they are doing, telling them they are wrong.  He also has them pay restitution to the people and promise to God that this practice will not continue.

Leadership Principle # 4-  Leaders will go through all necessary steps to make a wrong situation a right situation.

Part 2-Serving by Living Right 

1.  Nehemiah had seen first hand the result of broken relationships and greed.  He has confronted and challenged them to a new way of life.  Now, in a powerful act of leadership, he shows what it means to live that way by example.

“We cannot lead anyone else farther than we have been ourselves.  Too many times we are so concerned about the product that we try to shortcut the process.  There are no shortcuts when integrity is involved” – John Maxwell

Leadership Principle # 5-  Leaders lead and live by example.

2.  Nehemiah led in his example by not taking the food allotted to the governor.  He decided that this would put to heavy a burden on them and potentially lead them back to the place they were before.    To him it was not about status before the people.  He just wanted to do what was right in God’s eyes.  He says, “Remember me with favor, O my God, for all I have done for these people.”   (Nehemiah 5:19)

Leadership Principle #6 – Leaders live a life of humility.  They do not demand things of people because of their status, but rather look for ways to serve and bless them.

What would happen if people in any sort of leadership adopted this approach?  Are there any potential negatives to it?  I look forward to hearing from you!



  1. I can’t imagine a world in which leaders led in this way. I do know a few, however, and they are greatly appreciated. Leading by example is not as easy as it sounds. Angie

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