Leadership 101 #3
Text: Nehemiah 4:1ff.
Thesis: To learn how to overcome opposition and continue forward.
(1) Have you ever been criticized?
(a) How did you react?
(b) J. Oswald Sanders wrote: “No leader is exempt from criticism, and his humility will nowhere be seen more clearly than in the manner in which he accepts and reacts to it” (Spiritual Leadership 110).
(2) Nehemiah faced criticism.
(a) Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem began mocking and despising Nehemiah and accused him of rebelling against the king (Neh. 2:19).
(b) Later, Sanballat became furious and devised a plan to stop the building of the wall (Neh. 4:1-3, 7-8).
(3) Let us note how Nehemiah and the people reacted:
A. They believed in prayer.
1. They took their problems to God (Neh. 4:4-5).
2. They continued to pray as problems arose (Neh. 4:9).
B. Do we believe in prayer?
1. Jesus taught us: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44).
2. Jesus, in the model prayer, taught us to pray: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).
3. God told us: “And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me” (Psa. 50:15).
4. Charles Swindoll wrote: “The saint who advances on his knees need never retreat because prayer provides an invincible shield” (Hand Me Another Brick 51).
A. They kept working anyway.
1. “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6).
2. Also, they had a common sense response to opposition.
a. When the critics were merely talking, the people just ignored them and worked anyway.
b. However, when the critics talked of taking action, the people set us guards around the wall (Neh. 4:13).
B. Do we keep working anyway?
1. Too often, many give up after initial failure and/or criticism.
2. One wrote:
Don’t Give Up
I’ve taught a class for many years;
Borne many burdens, toiled through tears
But folks don’t notice me a bit;
I’m so discourage – I’ll just quit.
Sometime ago I joined a visitation team
That many folks I might inspire;
But folks don’t seem moved a bit
And I can’t stand it. I’ll just quit.
I’ve led young people day and night
And sacrificed to lead them right
But folks won’t help me out a bit
And I’m so tired, I think I’ll quit.
Christ’s cause is hindered everywhere
And folks are dying in despair.
The reason why? Just think a bit;
The church is full of folks who quit.
3. We are to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
(1) While we continue working for the Lord even when opposition comes our way?
(2) Aren’t you glad that the Lord didn’t quit His mission when people opposed Him?