“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Quote by Joseph P. Kennedy
When Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of … men, women and children gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.
Then Shekaniah said to Ezra,” We have been unfaithful to our God. … Rise up! This matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
So, Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath. –Selected passages from Ezra 10:1-5
In the above passage, Ezra had every right to grieve over the debauchery that was going on and this, after all God had done for the struggling restoration of Israel.
But there came a time when Shekaniah had to confront him and say, “Enough of this! Stand to your feet! Get moving! We’re going to work on all these issues and we need your support and leadership.”
We often think of Ezra as a strong and effective leader and priest, and indeed he was. But strong and effective leaders often become overwhelmed with depression and grief and a sense of futility when the people they are leading ignore their leadership to the peril of their own lives and relationships.
Yes, it was appropriate and fitting for Ezra to grieve, but he did not have a right to wallow in it.
Enter Shekaniah, who pointed out that it was time for him to move on and reassert his responsibilities.
In the following book, Nehemiah learns from his brother, Hannani, that his hometown of Jerusalem is in ruins.
The walls are charred remnants of their former invincibility. The temple at this point is in the embryonic stages of repair.
It breaks his heart as he prays for the restoration of its former glory.
Then comes the opportunity along with the fear of opening his mouth to the foreign king he serves.
At his boss’s promptings, he spills his guts to him and the king is filled with compassion for Nehemiah’s passion.
It seems that Nehemiah pleads for the opportunity to lead the restoration process almost before he realizes what he has asked.
Once into the massive project, he is faced with overwhelming opposition. The folks living in the area do everything they can to discourage and stop him. But at every roadblock, Nehemiah prays to the God in heaven (contrasted with the many false gods surrounding him). And every time, God comes through.
The worst of all the enemies are the very people he is trying to restore. Halfway through the project, they fail to follow through and turn to the same practices that brought about their captivity.
Again, Nehemiah turns to the God of heaven and God breaks through.
The stories of Ezra and Nehemiah are Biblical classics in the art of leadership.
In The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet, the pastor’s most difficult relationships are often with those who ought to be supportive. It is a parable for all of us who are leaders.
It is, first of all, about turning to God in the face of adversity. It is also about bulldog tenacity when the forces, both inside and outside the church, threaten to undo him.
Whether you are a pastor, a church leader, a civic leader, a football, basketball or soccer coach, or superintendent of schools, adversity is guaranteed. It comes with the territory.
We need the presence of God actively living and working in our lives. Through Jesus Christ, you can make a difference beyond anything you can think or imagine.
Pray to Him! Trust Him! Obey Him, and you will soon discover that nothing is impossible with God.