Today's devotion from Nehemiah 7.
Nehemiah was incredibly successful, but more importantly, he was wise in that he cared more about the objective than his success. What I mean is basically this: Nehemiah understood that for this whole endeavor to succeed, it had to rest on God instead of him. He was only a steward of the moment. One of the practices of Nehemiah that exemplifies this mindset is how quickly he appears to be willing to give away his success and power.
The wall is built, but he continued to work. The doors are set, but he continued to work. All of these things were taken care of and, in that moment, he looked around and said, "You know what? I need to give it away." This flies in the face of what so many of us experience. We fight so long and hard for something that we can't even fathom giving it away. Nehemiah knew his place was to initiate, organize, motivate, and then to empower.
As I write this, I am overwhelmed with the implications of what Nehemiah did. I have read many articles that lament the problems created by leaders who fail to understand the wisdom Nehemiah. They bemoan the myriad issues created within the church when leaders don't do one of the most important things possible...teach and empower others to lead. Beyond the immediate tensions created, there are the lasting dangers of what happens when the leaders aren't available to lead anymore.
In many ways, this boils down to trust. We have to trust God. We have to trust others. Isn't this what so many of our greatest fears are about? Don't we fight tooth and nail against losing power? What if we could trust God to take care of the problems we face? What if we could trust others to come along side us and ease our load? Then we might know the freedom from those fears that we so desperately seek.