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A Transformer Or Conformist? – Lessons From Nehemiah’s Leadership

One of the greatest transformers who ever lived undoubtedly is Nehemiah. The book of Nehemiah provides great lessons as far as leadership is concerned. Nehemiah, who was poised to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem despite the numerous challenges meted against him, realised the high rate of corruption amongst his people. Nehemiah 5:6-7 NIV reads, “When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, ‘You are charging your own people interest!’ So I called together a large meeting to deal with them.”

The people were expressing their grievances about the oppressive practices of their fellow Jews, who were charging interest on loans and taking advantage of their poorer neighbors. As a result, many of the people were becoming indebted, losing their properties, and even facing the risk of having to sell their own children into slavery to pay off their debts.

Nehemiah, upon hearing these complaints, was deeply troubled and immediately took action to address the situation. He called a meeting with the offenders and confronted them about their unethical behavior, reminding them of the laws of God that prohibited the exploitation of their own people. Nehemiah also pointed out the negative impact that their actions were having on the reputation of the Jewish community in the eyes of their enemies.

Indeed, Nehemiah was a great transformer of his time. Unlike the other Jewish leaders, he chose to transform his sphere rather than conforming to the evil practices that had existed for a very long time. His response to the injustice and suffering of his people should serve as an example for leadership at every level. It is clear he had the welfare of the people at heart. He didn’t take advantage of their situation to exploit them. He did not only listen to the grievances but also took decisive action to address the root cause of the problem and provide relief to those who were suffering. He demonstrated his commitment to justice, righteousness, and the well-being of his community. This is worth emulating.

It is time we understand that leadership is a great calling. You have been called to alleviate the pains and sufferings of the people and not to increase or add to their plight. Let’s all arise and make Jesus Christ proud in whatever sector or organisation we find ourselves. Be that great transformer that organisation has ever desired.

The secret to Nehemiah’s transformative attitude is found in Nehemiah 5:15, which reads, “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.” He feared God. He translated the fear of God in him into his leadership. If all men who claim to fear God will go the way of Nehemiah, I believe we will surely see the great transformation we so desire in our land.

So let it be said one day that, once upon a time, there was a great transformer in this organisation who brought joy and satisfaction to his people. May God grant you the grace to lead His people.

Written by Pastor Prince Augustine Ababio (Jema Nkawkaw)

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