The Birthing of a Vision
I have been studying the book of Nehemiah for a while. And I am overwhelmed by the richness of its content. It’s also relevant to leadership. Now, I’m going to share my study here.
Nehemiah 1 was about having a vision. A vision is what we want to see or have or become in the future. In his book Christian Coaching, Gary R. Collins define vision as “a clear picture of something that we want to exist in the future”1. Our vision will dictate what will be our mission, or what we will do now to achieve it. Vision defines our purpose and directs our passions. So without one, we lose purpose and consequently misdirect our passions and efforts.
So how do we give birth to a vision? Let’s learn from Nehemiah’s example, found in the first chapter of the book.
Nehemiah Saw a Need
3They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When Nehemiah asked his brother about “the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem” (v.2), he identified two needs. First, the people were in “great trouble and disgrace.” Second, the wall of Jerusalem is “broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
What are the needs around you? What do you see? Do you see people in need of the Lord Jesus? Do you see people on the streets, starving and homeless? Do you see families broken and torn apart? What do you see?
Nehemiah Responded with Discontent
4When I heard these things, I sat down and wept…
I find Nehemiah exaggerated when he cried over a broken wall. But I learned that walls are very important in his time. Walls served as protection from invaders and symbolized peace and stability. So when a city had no walls, it was in great danger. It is but right for Nehemiah to cry! He responded with discontent. He thought, “This cannot be. Something must be done!”
What makes you cry? What are the circumstances around you that you just can’t bear or stand?
Nehemiah Responded in Prayer
4…For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5Then I said…
Many of us are solution-oriented rather than prayer-oriented. When problems arise, we are quick to find solutions but do not pause and lift the matter to God. Not with Nehemiah! He lifted his concern to God in prayer than immediately finding a solution to it.
May we first come to God as we give birth to a vision. After all, He is the Giver of the vision.
Nehemiah Acknowledged his Position
11…I was cupbearer to the king.
Nehemiah was a cupbearer. A cupbearer is someone who tastes the food of the king to ensure safety and quality. So if the food had poison in it, Nehemiah would die (Would you dare taking on the same job even if you are offered with a high pay?). Also, since a cupbearer is always with the king, he is solicited for advices.This is the point: A cupbearer is highly trusted by the king.
Nehemiah enjoyed the trust of his master. And he was in a unique position to do something about the need that he saw.
Where are you right now? What is your position? You could be an executive of a company, an officer in an organization, an influential person in the ministry, or a parent or child in a family. Wherever you are, whatever your position is (formal or informal), you are in a unique position to do something!
What is your vision in life?
1Gary R. Collins-Gary R. Collins, Christian Coaching (Colorado Springs, Co.: NavPress, 2001), 120.