Nehemiah 1:6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned.
All leaders have followers. If you are out ahead and no one is following you, then you probably are not a leader. We must understand that we all play different roles and we need each other. The Bible tells us that leadership is a gift from God and is given to leaders by grace. What will make a person into a great leader is walking in humility. We need to recognize that we are all equal, living our lives to glorify Jesus. God has given us different roles, gifts and abilities all by His grace and exhorts us to uses our position, gifts, and abilities for His glory. Just because we have different roles doesn’t mean we are ever more important than anyone else. We have the same goals in mind as we serve Jesus—we are all on the same playing field trying to win.
Nehemiah recognized this as he addressed the remnant of people that were living in despair. Why? Because he understood that both he and the people were sinners—imperfect people. He could have easily said that the remnant in Jerusalem deserved what they got because they had sinned against God, but he understood that he wasn’t perfect either. He says in this verse, “We have sinned against You. Even I and my father's house have sinned.” Just because he was in a different position didn’t change the fact that he was imperfect as well. He understood that his position of cup bear was given by God’s grace.
It is hard sometimes as a leader not to elevate yourself and become prideful. You are doing so much, and it can be very easy to have pride slip in. You can actually think that you are better or even on a different level than the people you are trying to lead. But we aren’t better than our followers. We are all sinners, and we are all in desperate need of Jesus in our lives.
Those that understand they are just a piece in a larger puzzle are often more gracious. I want to be more gracious and non judgmental with those I lead because I know that I make mistakes as well. I know that I blow it. I know that I am a sinner. We see Nehemiah going to God with this truth rather than putting people down to elevate himself. I have come to find out that when I go to God with my sin and imperfections He is able to handle it all and lovingly forgive me. Jesus deals with my sin perfectly and has graciously loved me. So when I go to God with my sin as Nehemiah did, I find love and hope in Him. This helps me lead people better because now I don’t have to put others down to deal with my imperfections. I can now help others by pointing them to Jesus to deal with their sins and imperfections. I can testify of His loving grace and encourage other to go to Him for strength. I can say WE are on the same playing field and we all need grace.