Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 11:1-2 ESV)
Being a true leader isn’t always glamorous. There are not always hundreds of people lining up, wanting to be just like you. This can be witnessed in the book of Nehemiah. We read that the leaders lived in Jerusalem and the rest drew lots.
Nehemiah is the account of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. During the restoration, enemies threatened to attack it as the wall and gates were rebuilt; it wasn’t necessarily the safest place. That is one reason the average Joe didn’t immediately sign up to live there. Jerusalem living also meant leaving a previous place of residence, which had one’s farm and livelihood.
At this point, Jerusalem was not yet finished, and business would have been slow. The leaders made a sacrifice. Someone had to live there and start the process of creating a once again bustling city. Could this be what leadership is often about? Not asking people to take a risk for you, but rather taking one for them? Jesus even said that He came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:28). That is what leading is. We learn how to do this in the purest of forms through Jesus and His substitutionary death on the cross. He calls us to lay down our lives for others, because He has laid down his for us (John 15:13).
Have you been a leader lately?