The Courage to Connect
And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. — Nehemiah 2:2
This encounter between Nehemiah and the Persian king is a profound moment. These two men are distinctly different: one a slave with simple faith in God, the other a powerful leader of a pagan nation. Yet, in their interaction, we witness a significant connection. Many men and leaders never reach this point. Some are too engrossed in power to be involved, while others fear vulnerability due to feelings of insignificance. But here, we see a leader showing interest and a worker willing to be vulnerable.
So, here's a challenge for two types of men today.
First, if you're in a leadership role today, be it in a family, community, or workplace, this text should challenge you. It's a call not to be so consumed with your own affairs that you miss God's work around you. This means shifting focus from yourself, your plans, and your interests to those around you. Inquire about their well-being and take the time to notice when something is off. God may place someone in your path who needs your attention, but you'll need to redirect your focus from yourself to them to see and respond to their needs. This person could be a colleague, employee, or even a family member. So, stop being selfish and ask the key question—“What’s going on?”
Second, if you're in need of help today, the best way to find it is to ask for it. Turn to God and others for assistance, as Nehemiah did. You might need to overcome emotional barriers to seek out the resources God has provided. So, take that step today. Reach out to someone for help. Make a call. Let your guard down.
Who knows? God might bring together two men—an available leader with resources and a willing, vulnerable man needing help.
Reflect on a time when you were in a leadership position. How did you balance your responsibilities with being attentive to the needs of those around you? What can you learn from Nehemiah's interaction with the king to improve your approach to leadership and empathy?
Consider a moment when you were in need of help but hesitated to ask for it. What held you back, and how did you eventually overcome these barriers? How does Nehemiah’s example of seeking help inspire you to approach similar situations in the future with more openness and trust?
DO THIS: Take a step to connect.
PRAY THIS: Father, grant me the wisdom to lead with empathy and the courage to seek help when I need it, just as Nehemiah did. Help me to see beyond my own needs and to respond with compassion to those around me, fostering connections that honor You. Amen.
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