It has been said that the turtle only gets in trouble (or makes progress) when it “sticks its neck out.”  How true that is in our life as well … trouble or progress comes when we are willing to do the same.

That leads me to Nehemiah … a man who “stuck his neck out” from beginning to end.  Perhaps that is why I love his book so much!

Not only have I a taught a week-long class on Nehemiah at Angola Prison in Louisiana, I have used it as the basis for a M.Div. class on Christian leadership at Church on the Rock Seminary in India, and I have also written a book titled “Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah.”

One of my favorite chapters is Nehemiah 3.  It’s a list of everyone who finished their part of the Jerusalem Wall project.  Here we read that Eliashib and his fellow priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate, the sons of Hassenaah rebuilt the Fish Gate, Joiada repaired the Old Gate, and on and on.

If Hebrews 11 is the roll call of faith, Nehemiah 3 is the roll call of responsibility.

However, one verse in particular sticks out: The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors. (Nehemiah 3:5)  I especially like the way the KJV says it: but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.

Have you ever worked with someone like that?  Someone who could pinpoint the problem, who could observe the work around them, but was of no real use in bringing about a solution?  Someone who saw themselves as being just a little above the hands-on effort required to finish the task?

Effective leaders can (and must) do more than diagnose the problem.  They know how to take the necessary steps to make the problem go away.  Are you ready to “put your neck out” to get the job done?