2017 Leadership Series: The Tenacious Leader
Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!”
“Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.’
So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. (Nehemiah 4:3-6)
Are you characterized by tenacity? The word can sometimes conjure up thoughts of an individual who is bullheaded, obstinate and inflexible. While it can exhibit itself in these ways, a more accurate definition could be a determination, steadfastness and persistence that keeps moving forward despite opposition.
Tenacity, when it comes to the Lord’s work, is a required character attribute of a servant.
Tenacity is not being closed to input and even criticism, when necessary. A tenacious leader welcomes these, but keeps his/her eyes on the goal and progress toward it.
In chapter 4, Nehemiah is busy doing what God wants him to do. He, and the people, are rebuilding the Jerusalem wall. The Lord’s hand is clearly on the work. The project is going really well!
Then opposition rears its ugly head. The taunting is incredible. A couple of voices from the enemy bleachers begin to ridicule and taunt Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:1-3). Sanballat starts and Tobiah adds to the chorus. Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall. The cynicism and intimidation tactics begin.
Satan sure knows how to lead a resistance movement. Throw some discouragement and taunting Nehemiah’s way. That will slow, if not stop, the progress on the wall.
What is Nehemiah’s defence? He leaves it to God, the righteous Judge, who will ultimately make it right. He prays, “Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads..” (verse 4-5). The result is found in verse 6. “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
The best way to avoid opposition is to sit and do nothing, but that’s not leadership. Satan is happy if he can slow or stop a work. Take heart in what Jesus said. “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).
The saying “anything worth having is going to be hard” is often true. If you want to be a leader and make an eternal difference you will face opposition and yes, its going to be hard.
The opposition may come from outside and even sometimes from within our churches (2 Timothy 2:14-15). Satan will use whatever tool he can to stop or slow down kingdom progress. More than ever, our churches need leaders who will courageously and determinedly continue in spite of opposition.
Do you want to reach out into your community? You will face opposition. Are you making changes in your assembly? You may also face opposition.
Keep moving forward
Leadership is not for the faint hearted. Courageously move forward in His plan and purpose. Jesus set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem knowing what He would face (Luke 9:51).
Take heart, realizing these things:
1.Expect opposition, both from outside and inside the church. Realize that discouragement and doubt are primary tools of Satan. Be aware of his tactics.
2.Keep your eyes on the prize. Hebrews 12:2 says looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3.Leave justice to the righteous Judge. Let the Lord take care of setting things straight. Proverbs 20:22 Do not say,”I will repay evil, wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
4.Be gentle in your response.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25) God may perhaps grant repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Be steadfast and gentle but move forward with tenacity and courage.