A Tender Heart
Over the holiday break, I read through the book of Nehemiah for the first time in a while. I was struck by the great insights about Spiritual leadership from this great book. For the next few weeks of posts, I’ll be pulling some of these lessons out and seeing what they can teach us today.
The first lesson from learned from Nehemiah is that Spiritual leaders have a tender heart.
As a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia, Nehemiah had gotten word that the people of Jerusalem were in trouble and that the walls of the city were in shambles. This meant that they were vulnerable to attack. More importantly Jerusalem, the a symbol of Israel’s spiritual condition, was in shambles and God’s glory was at stake.
Nehemiah’s reaction to the news reveals much of his heart.
1:4 “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” (NLT).
Let me remind you that Nehemiah was a politician. He didn’t even live in Jerusalem. Yet, his heart was stirred to compassion for the city and people he loved. I don’t normally think of politicians as having tender hearts toward the people in their constituency, but Nehemiah displays it immensely.
A tender heart is a necessity for Spiritual leadership. Unless we can sense the pain and brokenness of our people, we cannot speak the truth in love. Leadership without a tender heart leads to indifference. We see those in our care as objects to be used instead of people who need to grow. When we lack tender hearts we put programs and initiatives ahead of people. This doesn’t lead to life change and true Spiritual growth.
I know that I am lacking tenderness when I am short with people, when I blame people and when I stop listening to them. I start getting frustrated with their lack of progress or for taking up too much of my valuable time.
We want the opposite. Tenderness sees the pain and walks with the other person. Tenderness helps us value the other person and makes us want to understand their situation.
Every other lesson we learn from Nehemiah is worthless unless we get this one down. Nehemiah is leading others because he cares for their well being.
Is your heart tender toward those you are leading or is it calloused and indifferent? If it is the latter, then maybe you need to spend some time with Jesus asking for a new heart toward those you are leading. Ask God to create in you a new heart of compassion and tenderness for those you are serving.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]