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On Becoming A Servant Leader Pt. 5
Stats: 6,101 words / Reading Time: 30.51 mins

Published: Thursday 30th January 2020

On Becoming A Servant Leader Pt. 5 is read 630 times on CentreNDL.org 630

On Becoming A Servant Leader Pt. 5

How To Transform Your Society In The Fear of God

We began, a few weeks ago, looking at On Becoming A Servant Leader. The Lord has been helping us looking through the book of Nehemiah to learn the lessons that we must learn for our emergence in influence and in authority in our generation. You see, God does not just want us to emerge, He does not want us to just become leaders. He want us to emerge and become leaders who serve. He wants to have a different story to tell and a different legacy to leave behind. He does not want us to go the way of those who have robbed the people, who have plundered people. He does not want us to go the way of those who have lord it over the people, but He wants us to become leaders who become and greater via their service to the people.

 

Listen To MP3: ON BECOMING A SERVANT LEADER: HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR SOCIETY IN THE FEAR OF GOD

 

Today we are continuing in the series and we are looking at something that is very interesting. Last week, the Lord helped us to consider How To Manage Criticisms And Overcome Your Critics. If  I can do a quick recap of the things that we have considered under the series, we looked at the beginning, Rediscovering Your 3Ps, and then we considered The Three Strategic Questions Of Your Purpose and we also saw How To Rise To The Task Beyond The Title. So, the challenge was rise to the task beyond your title. And last week, we saw How To Manage Criticisms And Overcome Our Critics.

 

So today, the Lord has prepared something for us and we will be looking at the book of Nehemiah chapter 5. Our focus today is: How To Transform Your Society In The Fear of God. One of the things I have come to understand about servant leadership is that a servant leader is more or less one who transforms the lives of the people by serving them. You are not a servant leader if there is no one you are serving. So, your service to the people is what makes you a leader among the people, it is what gives you influence with and over the people, it is what makes you a man, a woman that the people love and they want to follow.

 

So, a man who is void of the capacity to serve is the man who does not have the capacity to lead. So, show me a man who is ready to lead and I will show you a man who is willing and eager to serve. So, it is your service that commends you to your people. Until you are willing to serve them with your life, serve them with your time and your resources, then you do not deserve to be called a leader over them. You remember what Jesus said, He said "I am one among you as one who serves." It is your service that gives you leadership with and over the people.

 

Today we are looking at How To Transform Your Society In The Fear of God. And this includes your organization, your nation, your city or your generation in the fear of God. I want us to examine a few verses in the book of Nehemiah 5 to build a background for what we would be discussing. At your own leisure time, go through the entire chapter of Nehemiah 5 for you to have a broader perspective and you can be grounded in what the Lord is sharing with us today. How To Transform Your Society In The Fear of God. Nehemiah 5:1, the Bible says:

 

"And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren. 2 For there were those who said, “We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain, that we may eat and live.” 3 There were also some who said, “We have mortgaged our lands and vineyards and houses, that we might buy grain because of the famine.” 4 There were also those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards. 5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and indeed we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been brought into slavery. It is not in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and vineyards.” 6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them 8 And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?” Then they were silenced and found nothing to say."

 

Now, we will soon continue with the chapter, but if I may talk briefly over the verses that we have read, verse 1 shows us something that we must not miss. It says: "And there was a great outcry of the people and their wives against their Jewish brethren." There are times and moments in the history of nations when they are ruled by other nations. And so, you call that colonization. There was a time Africa was ruled and colonized by the Europeans. In fact, there was a time various part of the world were ruled and colonized by various part of the world. The Americans were one time ruled by the British. There was a time the Japanese were ruling over some people, I think the Chinese, and there was a time the Chinese too were ruling over some other group of people.

 

You see, the whole world had been in a serious situation of slavery and colonization over the years. There was a time the Romans were ruling, there was a time the Persian was in charge, there was a time the Greeks were ruling as well. So, it has been a period when nations subjugate nations. Now, this could be a very serious situation, however, the most critical and serious situation is when a nation is subjugated within and by itself, when elements or sections of a nation become masters over the other section of the same nation. You could claim your race is better than other races. But what happens when within your race, there are those who subjugate others, oppress others and lord it over others. And remember what Jesus said that the rulers of the Gentiles, they lord it over them, but among you, it shall not be so among you. Is it possible that even among ourselves as a people that we call ourselves God's people, there is a possibility for a section of us to exert authority and influence over a great number of us, without the large part of us being able to survive and raise up their heads?

 

That also reminds me a place in Zachariah chapter one where the Bible talks about the horns that have scattered Judah, Jerusalem and Israel so that no one could raise up his head. But the man of God said God showed him four craftsmen who have come to terrify these horns and then to cast them out. I believe what is taking place in this session is that we are terrifying horns and we are casting out horns via this understanding that the Lord is sharing with us today. It is an anomaly for a nation to be scattered, oppressed even by the same nation. And so, we want to see how Nehemiah responded to these allegations so that we can learn how to transform our society. In the days of Nehemiah and at this moment in chapter five, there was a great outcry.

 

And the problem was not one that came to the people from the other nations, they were not oppressed by the other nations, it was their own brethren that were afflicting them. And so, it is important we see that the transformation of society which was necessary in the days of Nehemiah is also necessary in our own days. If you look carefully at your own society, you will discover that there is so much wrong being done, there is so much injustice taken place. So much perversion of justice, betrayal of trust. Many people have their lands taken from them, have their businesses taken from them. Many people have their houses taken from them, many people can't feed their children because they have quite a number of them, and many people are in financial debt. They borrowed money to pay tax, to send their children to school. There is so much scarcity in the land.

 

And just as it was in the days of Nehemiah, that is how it is in our days in many parts of the world. For instance, in my society, in Abuja Nigeria, there is so much economic deprivation of the people. And then you will ask: Is it a problem that is brought on the people by some foreign powers? It is not always like that. In reality, it is the problem that is brought upon the people by the peoples' families, the peoples' relatives, the peoples' kindred, the peoples' tribe. So, it is possible for a people to be subjugated by their own people, and so we are looking at how a society who could be in this scenario can be transformed by your own efforts and mine own efforts. We are looking at how you and I can come into the whole thing and transform the society from a place where poverty is the order of the day, to a place of prosperity, from a town where there is economic injustice to a town where there is economic justice for all, where there is equity for all. What is it that you and I can do from what Nehemiah did that can change our society for good?

 

The cry that is going on in our society must not continue if indeed you call yourself a leader in our society. Now, you have been a leader perhaps for some years. But it is important that you transit from just being a leader in that city or a leader in that organization to becoming a servant leader there, a man or a woman who has the heart for the people and who is willing to serve the people without any reservation. And that is what we are considering. In verse 6, Nehemiah said And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them."

 

The first thing that I noted that Nehemiah did which we saw in verse 7, is that he didn't just get troubled as he was in verse 6, he decided to do something. He decided to rebuke the nobles and leaders. The question is: The current injustice that is taken place in your country, in your organization, in your city, have you been speaking against it? The first thing that Nehemiah did was that he rebuked them. Don't forget Nehemiah was a governor. But he didn't just remain a governor carrying title, he decided to come down to serve them. Nehemiah rebuked the nobles, he spoke truth to power, like we usually say it in our generation.

 

Remember in Isaiah 42:22, there is a story there for us to consider. Talking about us speaking against the nobles and the rulers. When they tamper against the comfort, against the peace and prosperity of the people, we must speak against those who are in power, if they are walking in error. Isaiah 42:22 says:

 

But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”

 

As I was meditating on this verse, I realize that all that is required of many of us is just to speak against the evils of our generation. Imagine if we are a million people who know what is right and who desire to see what is right being enforced in our society, imagine one million of us, speaking against a matter. It is going to become a trend, both on social media and a matter that government must do something about. But what do we do? We would rather talk about sport, or fashion or other things that aren't too important or music or videos, instead of talking about the injustice in our society. If you must experience a transformation of your own society, then you must take up, as a man, as a woman, the responsibility of speaking. Speak to the people, speak truth to the people in power. You must learn to rebuke, that is the first thing that Nehemiah did.

 

The second thing that he did is contained in verse 9. It says: "Then I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?" The second thing I noted is that he reminded the nobles and the rulers, the best way to conduct their affairs as leaders over God's people, in the fear of God. They, the nobles and the rulers were expected to walk in the fear of God. However, they were walking in the fear of their own survival. They wanted to amass wealth, they wanted to appropriate everything to themselves, they wanted to exact usury on the people and subjugate them. They believe their own prosperity can only be guarantee if the people remain in poverty. So, he reminded them.

 

Another word we can use for that reminder is that he trained them. They could have had training in the past, he put them into remembrance, the things that they have learnt and they must put to practice. So, you have a responsibility to remind the people in power what is expected of them. You see, my wife normally say something to me, that I should not assume that people know something. Actually, they may just not know it. So, sometimes you judge people and say "Why will somebody who know so an so" and my wife will tell me they may still not know what I assumed and why can't I tell them what they should know or remind them what they have known.

 

If the poverty of your generation, of your society must be transformed into prosperity, then you must not just rebuke the people in power, you must remind them of the things they must do, a life they must live, so that the society will become a better place for all of us. The next thing I noted is in verse 10. Don't forget he began by rebuking them, and then he reminded them the best way to conduct their affairs, and then the next thing he did in verse 10 is that he requested for change. It says: "I also, with my brethren and my servants, am lending them money and grain. Please, let us stop this usury!" So, he requested for change. There has been a way, pattern and how things had been in the past. He implore them to move away from the patterns, to stop the things they used to do. So he requested for change.

 

Don't just rebuke the people or the leaders who are oppressing the people, don't just remind them of a life that they must live and how they can conduct their affairs as public officers, as political office holders, as appointees of government and of their organizations, you don't just remind them, you must request for change. You see, it has been said you should be careful what you ask for because you might just have it. Now, if you must have a change in your transformation, ask for it. Ask for change, don't just complain. Sometimes the politicians, the leaders are even confused. They don't know what to do. Sometimes you complain that the leaders don't do the right thing, can you simply tell them the right thing to be done?

 

You think they know since they are political leaders. They don't know. Since they are leading does not mean they know. If they know, then the society should have been a better place for it. Now, since so much hasn’t changed, that tells you that they don't know. So, don't just complain about what they do, request for change. Tell them what they should start and tell them what they should stop.

 

Another thing that he did is in verse 11, and I will read it very quickly. It says: "Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them." See what they say in verse 12: "So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say." So we see that he didn't just requested for change, the other thing he did was that he ensured that the people were restored back to their former glory, the days when they used to have lands, vineyards, grains, wines, he restored back to their abundance and their dignity. Don't forget what we read in Isaiah 42:22:

 

But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”

 

So, he restored them, financially he restored them, in their self worth he restored them. So, the people began to see themselves no more as slaves enslave to their own people but as landlords, as real estate owners as business owners, as authorities in their own nations. He gave the people their sense of belonging back and they now began to have authority over their lands and authority over places to work. He gave them opportunity.

 

As a servant leader, who has understood how to manage criticisms and overcome critics, it is important that you transform your society. Things are not rosy for the people. Make things rosy for them, and this is how you must do it. Rebuke those who are causing trouble, those who are perpetuating injustice, those who are stealing and embezzling, rebuke them. Speak the truth to power. Remind them the way they must conduct themselves. Request for change and restore the people back to the dignity, back to their prosperity, back to their wealth, back to their honor and to their power, back to their blessing and to their strength, to the days when they used to know so much, restore them back. Restore knowledge back to them, let them not continue in ignorance, restore.

 

And so the last thing he did, and I want to read it to us in verse 12. "So they said, “We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say.” Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise." You see, don't just rebuke them and remind them alone, also require an oath for sustained change in their leaders. You see, politicians will promise and promise. And when they failed in delivering on their promises, nothing happened. Don't let this continue. As a man, as a woman who desires transformation of his or her society, anyone who is in leadership, don't just restore the people back to their glory, you must require an oath, a promise from their leaders to sustain that change, otherwise after a few weeks or a few months, or a few years, things will return back to the status quo.

 

So, if you don't want things to go back to the days of horror for the people, then ensure that there is a requirement from the leaders. Now, another way we can put it is this. When your society start to change, courtesy of your rebuke of the leaders, courtesy of your reminder or your retraining of the leaders, showcasing the best practices to the leaders courtesy your request for change and your restoration of the people, you must take the leaders through a process of what we could call institutional amendment or what we call an act of parliament. Let there be a law backing it up. You see, leaders who are doing good, may stop doing good once they do not see any gain for them. So, if they must continue to do good, they must be mandated to do good via the law.

 

So, push for laws, push for peace, push for amendment of the constitution of the nation, push for amendment of the relevant laws so that what they are doing now which is making life easy for your people, can become institutionalized, even beyond this current leaders. Don't forget, the transformation of your society is your goal. As a servant leader, you are a leader who is serving your people and their continuous progress is your joy. You derive so much joy in their fulfillment and in their prosperity. And so, you just don't want them to be okay while you are there now, you want them to be okay even while you are long gone. So, whatever change that you are able to bring on board now that you is there, make sure it is institutionalized via the laws. Let there be relevant laws amended that will sustain that change, lest they go back to their status quo or the days when they were subjugating the people.

 

And I pray that God's grace will be sufficient for you in Jesus' name. It has been a great time that we have had together learning from the Lord and from the book of the Lord and about how you and I can become servant leaders in our generation. And we have seen, by the help of God, that the will of God is that you transform your society in the fear of the Lord. There is a particular verse I am supposed to read so that you will understand what happened in verse 15. It says:

 

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."

 

And so, what we have looked at is how you can transform your society in the fear of God. The reason why Nehemiah was able to effect change was that he feared God. In the book of Isaiah 11 if you read from verse 2, we will see how the coming Messiah according to the prophet, would rule in the fear of the Lord. The Bible says:

 

The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

 

So, if you read that, you will understand that if Christ needed the Spirit of the fear of the Lord to do the will of God, to transform His own society at that time in the fear of the Lord, if He require the fear of the Lord to succeed, you and I require the fear of the Lord. Why will you not keep quite when you see injustice? It is because you fear God. The fear of God is so much in you that you speak up and you do no longer fear men. You are not in fear of the nobles nor the rulers nor the politicians or board of trustee members of your organization. You are not in fear of anybody, you are rather in the fear of God. The fear of God is so much in you so that what you want and desire is that the society be transformed, and then you are willing to push through toward seeing that your desire is actualize in your own time.

 

I pray that the grace of God will be sufficient for you. Don't forget the poverty, the unemployment and underemployment, the poor health and low self esteem in your society is due to the oppression of the people by their own people. So, instead of you joining them to do evil, to oppress the people, join the band or the train of men and women who are emerging as leading servants in their own generation. They are not just leaders but they are leading servants, serving the people to the point that the situations of the people, the circumstance of the people becomes a changed circumstance, a changed experience, and then there is a better life for the people, and everybody, and God is glorified in heaven.

 

You remember, the reason why the people were crying out were: because they had challenges with many children, had challenges with the mortgaging of their lands, houses and businesses, and they had challenges with financial indebtedness. If those challenges were real in the days of Nehemiah, please look around now, you will see the reality of them in your own society. Look around and then start speaking the truth to power and your nation will be transformed, your organization will be transformed and your generation will be changed for the better.

 

Thank you for the gift of your time, it has been a great time. My name is Gboyega Adedeji and I hope to connect with you again next week Wednesday. Stay blessed, stay leading by serving!

 

God bless you.

 

 


Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Gboyega Adedeji!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony with me in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!


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Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.



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