The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” (Nehemiah 1:1-3 NKJV)
Before setting out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s chief concern was for the people in Jerusalem at that time. His passion was for the “great distress and reproach” and the wall just happened to be “also broken down”. This may come as a surprise but the book of Nehemiah isn’t about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. It’s actually more about making reforms in the lives of the Israelites.
More than half the book is dedicated to chronicling Nehemiah’s efforts to restore a God centered culture among the people. The rebuilding of the walls was necessary to create a controlled environment where deep change and transformation could take place. As a leader, Nehemiah put people and their greatest needs first. Leaders today must do the same in order to be successful.
The people we lead may be team members, family, employees and staff, or customers and clients. Regardless of where we lead them or the personal goals we have for leading them, we must remind ourselves to put them first. We may have a goal to grow a ministry through our leadership but the people we lead also have a goal to fulfill their spiritual purpose in our ministries. We may want to increase sales for products and services at our businesses, but we can’t forget the customers and clients make purchases to fulfill their own needs. The focus must always remain on the people, not profits.
We have a responsibility to lead those on our teams to opportunities for success and fulfillment. We can lead customers and clients to helpful products, services, and solutions. Our programs and strategies are only vehicles designed to carry people to the place where their needs can be met. Once they reach their goals through our leadership, they will help us fulfill our goals.