Have you read the book of Nehemiah lately? You’ll find it in the Old Testament between Ezra and Esther, a book of thirteen chapters, and filled with practical help for us today. I encourage you to read it again—or for the first time. You will be blessed to see how this man of God, Nehemiah, tackled what looked like an impossible task—rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem—and did it in record time.
In Nehemiah 2:8, Nehemiah says, “Because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.” Nehemiah had asked his boss, the king, for some time off to go back to Jerusalem and repair the walls. This was a gutsy request on his part, and he prayed much before asking. But he believed it was God’s will for him to do this, so he took courage and asked for permission.
When the king granted his request, he immediately gave praise and credit to the Lord and his gracious hand. Nehemiah was a truly humble man, who was quick to give God the glory for his success. He was not too proud to ask the king for this favor and, when the favor was granted, he was humble rather than proud of it. No bragging on his part—only true humility.
To be an effective leader, we must first of all know when we need help from others and how to ask for that help. Nehemiah made his request in a very respectful manner, fully aware of his position before the king. He could never have gone back to Jerusalem to build those walls without the king’s permission, and once it was granted, he didn’t gloat or take it for granted. He gave God praise.
I find that one of the things a good leader must do is to know when to ask for help and where to go for that help. None of us is an island, as the poet reminds us, and we do, indeed, need others. Again and again in Scripture, we see this principle of our dependence on each other in the body of Christ, and the importance of working together. One of the lessons I’ve had to learn as a leader is that it is not a sign of weakness to admit that you need help, nor is it an imposition to ask others to help you. Most often, by asking for their help, you open up opportunities for others to use their gifts and be a part of the success.
Learn from Nehemiah’s example of seeking help when needed and giving credit where it is due. Again, it is the sign of a good leader and a mature person to acknowledge the part that others have played and to give them credit for their contributions.