Leadership in Context Episode 144 Show Notes
Don’t Come Down
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Stay focused on the task God has given you and avoid distractions.
Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall, and that no breach remained in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates, then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me.
When we discern there are things that are not profitable to the things God has called us to do and the people He has called us to be, how do we handle those distractions? How do we handle those interruptions?
In the next verse, Nehemiah outlines four responses to distractions. In most cases, at least one of these responses will help us a lot more than intellectualizing the situation.
So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”
1. “I sent messengers…”
This may be the most profound part of this verse. “I sent messengers.” That meant that Nehemiah was able to trust his message to someone, that he had someone who was trustworthy. Whatever God has called you to do, He has not called you to do it alone.
Nehemiah had people he could trust with the message. He had people who would carry and deliver his message. This is critical. He trusted someone to handle the situation. He didn’t have to stop what he was doing. There was a clear vision for what they were doing, why they were doing it, and how they were to accomplish it. He empowered them. He sent them as if they were himself.
Do you have anyone like that? It’s not a matter of gifting. It’s a matter of trust and stewardship to give that person the authority to deliver the message and for that person to deliver it in such a way with that authority.
The way to tell if a person is under authority is not if they will listen to you, but if they will listen to your delegated representative. When you send someone and they receive that someone just like they would receive you, that means that person is in a great relationship with you as their authority.
2. “‘…I am doing a great work…’”
Nehemiah did not lower the value of his work based on what they were saying. There was a high expectation within himself. “I am doing a great work.”
When you know you are doing a great work, it’s a lot easier to ask people to help you and stand with you. I wonder if people who don’t ask others to help them and stand with them really value the work they are doing.
Nehemiah understood that what he was doing was greater than what someone else was proposing. This is one of the traps of any leadership situation. A good leader knows how to respond to an opportunity. A good leader is also not drawn away by something that masquerades as an opportunity. If you are doing the best that you can do with your time and talent, why would you stop doing that to go do something else? Are you doing a great work? If you are, stay on the wall.
3. “’…I cannot come down…’”
Nehemiah doesn’t say that he won’t come down, but that he can’t come down. What he is doing is so important that he refuses to be distracted. He has worked himself into a place where he is being efficient and effective.
Synergy—Sometimes you are in a groove, in a place where you can’t stop. Things are flowing. It took a lot of effort to get there. Starting and stopping burns up a lot of energy. In cars, it’s not the amount of miles on the car that really matters; it’s the number of highway miles that counts. That indicates how many miles it has run without starting and stopping. It just goes. Brakes last longer the more highway miles you have. The starting and stopping is what causes the most wear and tear.
God wants us to have some highway miles on us where we get heated up, function strong, with no slowing down.
4. “’…Why should the work stop?’”
Nehemiah discerned that no matter what the argument was, for him to do this other meeting, the work was going to have to stop. Sometimes you have to give the enemy an appointment. When there are crises, interruptions, things happening—you have to fit that into your schedule. When you are done at the end of the day, then you can take that appointment. Why should you allow that to stop your work and distract you?
I’ve seen good leaders get distracted by both negative things and by chasing opportunities that really weren’t opportunities.
I sent a messenger to them.
I am doing a great work.
I cannot come down.
Why should the work stop?
They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.
Four times messengers were sent. And each time, he answered them the same way.
Your convictions will be tested. Your abilities will be tested. Your focus will be tested. Your commitment will be tested. Sometimes you have to say the same thing. Yes and no. Two very powerful words. Yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.
These guys wanted them to negotiate about what they were doing, but Nehemiah understood their goal was to stop the work.
Don’t let the work stop. Stay on the wall. Don’t come down.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!