Character, we cannot get away from bringing up the issue of character in almost every practice we do. Although we can learn skills and do them outwardly while there is something dormant or even rotting inwardly, we can only do our best when there is congruence. Nehemiah is clearly a congruent man.
Leadership researchers Kouzes and Posner concluded after studying thousands of leaders from all over the world that the most desired quality of a leader is credibility. “Credibility is mostly about consistence between words and deeds. People listen to the words and look at the deeds. Then they measure the congruence. A judgment of ‘credible’ is handed down when the two are consonant” (Credibility. How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It. p. 47). In a later writing they affirm that the most important personal quality people look for and admire in a leader is personal credibility. “This finding has been so consistent for over twenty years that we’ve come to call it ‘The First Law of Leadership’” (Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge. p. 120).
Credibility is key for successful leadership. People will follow leaders of solid character who clearly know where they are going and why they should be going there. Nehemiah exemplified a credibility that enabled him to effectively lead change.
He was willing to get personally involved.
He patiently waited on the best timing.
He persevered/endured through challenges.
He showed respect for his superiors.
He made requests with tact and graciousness.
He identified himself with the common people.
He displayed self-confidence in facing obstacles.
He was calloused to detrimental criticism.
He had the courage to do what was right, a concern for justice.
He was compassionate toward those in need.
He was unselfish.
He was honest in his assessments.
He had a strong personal sense of stewardship.
Along with these noticeable character qualities we see in Nehemiah, we see the results of the tests he navigated that refined his character and platformed him for growing credibility and contribution. Consider these obvious ones.
1. Test of approaching the King. (2:1-3)
2. Test of getting to Jerusalem. (2:7-8; Ezra 8:21-23)
3. Test of motivating and mobilizing people. (2:17-20)
4. Test of external opposition. (4:1-23; 6:1-14)
5. Test of internal opposition. (5:1-13; 13:1-31)
A.W. Tozer has been quoted as saying, “God rarely uses a man mightily until He has hurt a man deeply.” Hurt comes in a variety of ways. But, God does not waste the hurt and pain. He allows the negative processes and the challenges to strengthen character which in turn enables greater effectiveness for ministry.
So, what is your current credibility quotient? How much congruence is there between what others see of you and what is unseen? Don’t skip over this question too quickly. If something is rotting within it is only a matter of time until it surfaces. A full anointing of Hoy Spirit power resides with congruent men and women. For the sake of the advance of the Gospel and the glory of God, let us reaffirm our commitment to the Lord to be and to become.
Next Blog: Skills needed to Facilitate Change