Then I said, “What you are doing isn’t right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God and not invite the reproach of our foreign enemies?” — Nehemiah 5:9
Most would agree that character is vital for success in any organization, team, or family, yet today’s news is filled with examples of bad character. Nehemiah was in the process of building a wall, but he recognized that if some character issues were not addressed, the completion of the wall would be insignificant. Rebuilding a physical wall was not all that God had called Nehemiah to do. God called Nehemiah to a much greater ministry—a ministry to the heart.
Nehemiah was faithful in his firm denunciation of injustice, exploitation, and pride. He then set an example of godliness by the way he lived his life. As the leader, Nehemiah made changes that produced good character. First, he put a stop to the injustice and exploitation of the people by their leaders. Wealthy Jews had exploited the people with high taxes and slavery. Second, Nehemiah mandated that the leaders were to care for the well-being of the people. I was talking recently with a head football coach who told me about another coach who wanted to obtain an open assistant position, and he came to the interview carrying a briefcase filled with all his plans for the defense. At that point the head coach said, “I don’t care what is in the briefcase because I can get a hundred coaches to teach these kids how to block and tackle. What I want to know is how much you will care for the kids. Will you love them more than yourself?”
Third, Nehemiah understood the value of servant leadership. The character of a team reflects the character of the coach, and players will do what their coaches allow them to do. Fourth, Nehemiah was a model of servant leadership. He did not abuse the privileges afforded him as governor because he loved the people and wanted to please God.
1. How does your personal character reflect what you are teaching your players?
2. Have you determined the character traits you feel are most important?
3. How much “servant” is in your leadership style?
Extra Reading: Nehemiah 5:1–19
Lord, help me to be a coach of godly character and to be a model for my players to follow. Amen.