Purity and Integrity
“From the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah…neither I nor my kinsmen have eaten the governor’s food allowance. But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people…But I did not do so because of the fear of God. I also applied myself to the work on this wall.” – Nehemiah 5:14-16 NASB
As a cupbearer to the king of Persia, Nehemiah had seen how powerful men could amass worldly wealth. But he developed different habits that remained part of his character throughout his life.
After being appointed governor of Judah, Nehemiah could have taken advantage of this position for personal gain. Instead, he remained untainted and was able to keep his witness strong. How did he do this?
First, he maintained a life of humility and constantly demonstrated theattitude of a servant. As a cupbearer, he had learned how to serve, and he retained this attitude even after being named governor. He ruled as a servant-leader, and the king trusted him.
Others before him had abused their privileges, but Nehemiah wasn’t tempted by personal power or privilege. Instead, he honored and revered God and focused on His Kingdom. This gave him perspective that helped guide him in every situation.
Nehemiah also was compassionate. Previous governors had “placed a heavy burden on the people” (v. 15 NIV), creating an atmosphere of resentment and fear. In contrast, Nehemiah worked alongside the common people, sharing their burdens. As a result, they trusted him and were willing to serve him. He insisted that other leaders have these same standards and remain united in seeking God, being servants, and staying humble.
Each of us faces these kinds of temptations. How easy it can be to yield and to have the wrong priorities. In your life, follow the example left by Nehemiah. Develop the attitude of a servant. Seek to live in humility. Always seek God’s Kingdom first.
Father, search my heart. Purge me of any impurities. I commit my time, talent, and treasure to You. I seek first Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.