Don’t Get Discouraged

I had the opportunity to address a group of pastors recently. I was asked to speak to them on the general subject of leadership. My message was simple. “Don’t Get Discouraged.” I think this is a lesson for anyone.

I shared from my experiences briefly, but mostly I shared from the Bible story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was as great a leader as I have ever studied. Nehemiah got people who had a decades old history of inactivity to build a protective wall around Jerusalem in 52 days. How did he do that?

1. Nehemiah was able to get them to dwell on what God had said, rather than on what others were saying. Compare Nehemiah 2:8, 2:12, 2:20 with Nehemiah 4:2-3.

2. Nehemiah was able to direct attention to the half built wall instead of the rubble. Rubble paralyzes us, but half built walls energize us.

3. Nehemiah discovered friends who encouraged him. I have decided not to waste my time on the people who are critical all of the time. They zap the life out of me. I call them “drainers.” I look for the “refreshers.” We have to listen to critics, but we cannot hang out with critics. We become like them.

4. Finally, Nehemiah decided that his God was bigger than all other struggles. Here is Nehemiah’s motto: “Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

Don’t get discouraged. Forget about the ones telling you “If a fox climbs on your wall, the whole thing will fall down.” Instead grab the trowel, find your spot on the wall, and keep your hand to the task. Remember the words of Apostle Paul, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

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