Be Ye Imitators of Me (Z.T. Fomum)
In the world the leaders run away from the most difficult tasks. They run away from risky work. They send the others to war and hide in the security and comforts of home. This is not acceptable. May it not be found in the church.
Nehemiah was the people's leader. He did the planning and the administration. He could have given himself some privileges and some exemptions from the difficult tasks. He did not do that. Rather, he took the lead in the pathway of sacrifice. He said, "So neither I nor my brethren nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes, each kept his weapon in his hand." He was the example of those who were at the battle front, prepared to work every minute by having their clothes on all the time; and prepared for battle every minute and by having their weapons in their hand all the time. That was his attitude and it applied to
- his brethren
- his servants and
- the men who followed him.
The privilege that these people had for being in his immediate circle was more suffering. Others were on guard in the night and worked in the day. He and his men were on guard night and day and worked night and day. May God raise up in the church leadership that will say "Be ye imitators of me as I am of
Christ." May we make ourselves into such leaders and the church of the Lord will truly be blessed.
Nehemiah did not only set the example for the people to follow by hard work. He also set it by sacrificing his right to things. The Bible says, "Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brethren ate the food allowance of the governor. The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens upon the people, and took from them food and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. I also held to the work on this wall, and acquired no land; and all my servants were gathered there for the work. Moreover there were at my table a hundred and fifty men, Jews and officials, beside those who came to us from the nations which were about us. Now, that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; fowls likewise were prepared for me, and every ten days skins of wine in abundance; yet with all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the servitude was heavy upon this people. Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people" (Nehemiah 5:14-19).
Nehemiah was indeed their leader. He set an example:
He refused the governor's allowance which was his right for twelve years.
- He held to the work and acquired no houses for himself. He was too busy with the work to become pre-occupied with secondary issues.
- His servants did not lord it over the people but instead gathered for the work.
- He fed multitudes of people, very well, at his own expense, and refused to ask for the governor's food allowance.
Why did he do things in such an exemplary way? There are three reasons for it. The first is the fear of the Lord. He put God first and moved as the Lord wanted him to move. He was committed to the interests of the Lord.
The second reason is that he was deeply committed to the people. He saw that the servitude was heavy upon the people and so he refused to add to their yoke.
The third reason is that he expected and knew that God would remember and recompense him and that that would be far greater than any honour that man could ever give him. He was not in a hurry. He waited for God's reward.
So, in this way he proved that God's choice of him as the leader was correct. He went ahead and completed the work, and restored things. He truly accomplished the goal that he had before him.
May we too wait on God, hear His voice, obey and then we too like Nehemiah shall be blessed indeed.
Glory be to the Lord.