December 11, 2018

Traits of a Great Leader

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 11, 2018

Then I prayed to the God of heaven. Nehemiah 2:4

One of my favorite Bible characters is Nehemiah. He’s the guy whose passion was ignited to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall after it had been burned down. When he heard about the condition of the wall, he wept. Then, he fasted and prayed for several days asking God for favor from the King to help him rebuild it.

In addition to compassion and passion, here are three additional characteristics of Nehemiah’s leadership style that are inspiring.

  1. He used his position to care for—not suppress—others. Nehemiah didn’t use his authority to take advantage of people while he himself was pampered.

Nehemiah said, “The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God” (Nehemiah 5:15).

This is what great leaders do. They lead for the good of others.

2.  He used prayer as a mighty weapon to protect those he served.

When Nehemiah and his crew were mocked by their enemies who said they would not be able to rebuild the wall, Nehemiah prayed. “Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity” (Nehemiah 4:4).

Nehemiah stood in the gap for the Jews by praying and asking God for protection whenever they faced opposition. This is what great leaders do. They protect those they serve.

3.  He was accessible to his people. Nehemiah didn’t believe he was superior to the Jews. Therefore, he didn’t stand on the sidelines and order them around while they did all the work. Instead, he worked alongside them. In verse 6:3, scripture reveals that Nehemiah was up on the wall working and in verse 5:16 Nehemiah said, “I also persevered in the work on this wall. . .”

This is also what great leaders do. Even though they don’t fill the same role as those in their charge, they see themselves as part of a team. They don’t see themselves as superior taskmasters.

Even if you don’t lead in an organization, business, or church, you can put these principles into practice in your home with your children, at your place of work, and in your community. You can be a great leader.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).


Lord, thank you for your Word that has so much to say about how to lead well. Help me to be a life-giving leader in my home, community, and place of employment. Amen.


How are you doing as a leader? Rate yourself in each of the 3 leadership principles from Nehemiah. Then make a plan to take one step to improve.

Related Reading

Matthew 20:26; Nehemiah 2:17-18; 1 Peter 5:3; Proverbs 3:5-6

Post/Tweet today

Great leaders use their position to care for others, not take advantage of others. #WisdomHunters #greatleaders

Worship Resource

6 minutes- Todd Dulaney / Shana Wilson Williams: 


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