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The Cloud of Witnesses

Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible



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Lesson 4: Nehemiah – You Are Responsible For Your Area Of Influence


Nehemiah 3.

You Are Responsible For Your Area Of Influence

Nehemiah was a great leader in many ways. Here in Chapter 3 he demonstrates the importance of sensitivity in leadership. Yes, he saw the big picture. He was the one with the vision and passion to carry the work to fruition regardless of the cost to him and opposition from others.

However, he also recognised that was his ‘call’. He had been anointed for the role and responsibility. He knew that the people would be overwhelmed if they had to take on board the whole project so he divided it up into bite-sized pieces which each could understand and fulfil. He had to give each of the depressed people a ‘win’ situation.

He invited the people to be responsible for their part of the wall. That bit in front of their eyes. That ‘little’ bit they could manage and be both proud and protective of. He kept it local and relational. Each whanau looked after their part of the wall and repaired it. Together they encircled the city and had the whole operation under control.

Changing a nation is daunting. Influencing a city can seem a huge challenge. Break it down. Even an ‘impersonal’ city is made up of districts, streets and families. The issue is one of priorities. How much do you really care about your society and where it is heading? We can’t do it on our own but if we all concentrate on our area of influence, it can have an incredible effect. Especially if we get our directions from God.

However, it all starts with our family. We are responsible for our children. How we live with them, what we model to them. The problem today is that we so often abdicate our responsibilities to others - the day-care centre staff, the state schoolteachers, the Government agencies and church leaders.

We need to repair and strengthen our section of the wall of society, and then family-by-family society will change. We need to remember it begins with us. We should never have to ask the question – I wonder where my children are right now? They are our children – it is our job to know.

Nehemiah would say to us today...

Get your own house in order and then reach out to others. You are responsible to and for your family – you can’t leave it to outside agencies. Whether you like it or not, you are a role model. The question is what sort of role model are you?


Father, I thank You that You have given me terrific role models in both Nehemiah and in Jesus. Please help me to follow their example and to pass on a worthy heritage to my children and be a good example to my neighbours and work colleagues. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.

Additional readings

2 Corinthians 2:14-3:3; 1 Timothy 4; Psalm 1.


How much do you really care about the society in which you live?

What sort of role model are you to your children?

What do you think your neighbours think of you and your lifestyle?

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