Not Every Leader Leads (Nehemiah 3:5)
And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.(Nehemiah 3:5 ESV)
No matter how good the system, some folks will not participate. Did you catch the stinging rebuke in those words? The nobles would not “stoop” to serve their Lord. You’re meant to chuckle with disdain when you hear that because everyone stoops before their Lord. When a person of higher rank such as a king walks in the room, everyone bows or in other words, they “stoop.” The nobles of the Tekoites have three real problems. 1. They don’t consider the wall their work. They are content to leave it in the hands of others. At a time when everyone, even priests and women are working on a wall these men are too good to add their hands to the labor. 2. This is severely disrespectful of Nehemiah and everyone else who is working on the wall. While others have humbled themselves, these men have exalted themselves. 3. Ultimately it isn’t manual labor or even Nehemiah’s leadership they reject, it is serving the Lord.
As you set your heart to effect real change where you are, understand that there will be some who should have a vested interest in what you are doing but won’t lend a hand at all. Like the nobles of the Tekoites they can’t be bothered to see what great thing God is doing and join Him. They leave others to the task and their hand will be noticeably absent.
Though the nobles wouldn’t work, the Tekoites did work. In fact, they worked doubly hard in the absence of their aristocracy. Not only did they finish the work on their assigned section, but they took on the work of another section as well (Nehemiah 3:27). When God is in the midst of a project there is always a way to get it done with the resources you have on hand.
When I talk with folk about getting a ministry started or a ministry outpost set up somewhere I warn them that it is always easy to find helpers when it is time for a harvest, but when the real labor of breaking ground and plowing the field is involved that no one wants to show up. The folks who do show up for the hard work of ground breaking are always the hardest workers. They see the vision. They know what’s down the road and are willing to work twice as hard to see fruit. The question you have to ask is who are you more like: the Tekoites or their nobles?