John Haggai defines leadership as, “the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it toward goals of beneficial permanence that fulfill the group’s real needs.” I feel that the most significant word in this sentence is ‘influence’ and so we can say in brief, “Leadership is Influence.” Growing up, the image I had of a leader was that of someone who headed an institution. But I soon realized that I was a leader in my home, in my church and in my friends’ circle because of the influence I exerted on these groups. As we go higher in our leadership position we influence more people. We can identify people as good or bad leaders depending on what kind of influence they exert. The recent ‘Arab Spring’ exposed so many leaders in the Middle East and Africa who exerted a bad influence on their countrymen.
Nehemiah is an example of an excellent leader. When it was reported to him about the miserable state of the Jerusalem wall, he was a captive in a foreign land. His immediate reaction was of great sorrow. But he also fasted and prayed, confessing the sins of the Israelites and asking for God’s guidance in his future endeavors. He saw the need and heard the call. He already had a good job of being the king’s cup bearer, but took the risk of pursuing a difficult task. He faced mockery but continued to deal with injustice. Indeed he motivated and gave leadership and direction to a hopeless and demoralized people. Nehemiah’s dependence on God and his positive influence on the people enabled them to rebuild the wall in fifty two days. Not only did he rebuild the wall he also made the people confess their sins and affirm their faith in God’s Law. The book of Nehemiah ends with a simple prayer, “Remember me with favor, O my God.”
When we look around us we will notice that people are looking for good leaders. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the multitudes that “were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt.9:36). Are we ready to be the godly influencers?
Lord, enable me to be a good steward of Your kingdom. May I reflect Your grace and truth in all that I say and do.”