If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited.
A popular president lands on an aircraft carrier that has a banner proclaiming “Mission accomplished.” He proclaims to the cheering troops that hostilities have ended; however, three months later, it is evident that hostilities have not ended. The war continues, and the president’s poll numbers plummet.
A successful small business owner navigates his business through a recession. Things are on the upturn, but one day he receives a telephone call from his largest customer telling them that he is going elsewhere with his business. Once again, the small business owner is facing bankruptcy.
A Christian couple having difficulty in their marriage decides to go to a marriage enrichment seminar as one last-ditch effort to save their relationship. There they make a new commitment to one another and to God. Six months later, it seems as if they are headed back to divorce court.
What do all three of these scenarios have in common? They illustrate one of the harshest realities of life, and that is you will never experience a problem-free existence. As long as you live in this sin-infected world, you can never say, “I have finally solved all of my problems.” Problems are a price we pay for living in this world. It is important especially for leaders to understand that truth. A leader is somebody who takes people from where they are to where God wants them to be. You may be a leader in your family, a leader in your business, a leader of a Bible study group or a ministry, or if you cannot think of anybody else you are leading, you are leading yourself. We are all leaders. But if you are going to be an effective leader, you need to learn the lesson of Nehemiah 13, and that is this: successful leaders do not avoid problems. We think the measure of a leader is if he can stay away from problems. That is impossible. Successful leaders do not avoid problems; they address problems. Successful leaders do not run away from problems; instead, they run toward problems. They embrace them. They learn, as Tim Hansel said, how to eat problems for breakfast. And that is what we are going to talk about in Nehemiah 13.
Do you remember where we left Nehemiah? He was dancing and celebrating the completion of the wall around Jerusalem. That would have been a great place for Nehemiah to put a period in his memoirs. But that is not the way Nehemiah ended the story, because it is not realistic. After the time of celebration, Nehemiah said, “That’s enough of that. I am going to climb down off the wall, roll up my sleeves, and get back to work.” Because Nehemiah, until the day he died, addressed problems. That is what every leader knows how to do.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Eating Problems For Breakfast” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Tim Hansel, “Eating Problems For Breakfast” (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988).
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org