Leadership#7. “One man’s news…!”

Leadership#7. “One man’s news…!”

Years ago, I read a book by an old preacher that gave advice on sermon preparation. He said that he gleaned information for his lessons by reading multiple newspapers and listening to news reports on his car radio and watching the cable channels. (He has long since gone on to his reward and left an admirable spiritual legacy.) However, as the decades have passed, I have not since heard any other brother, let alone preacher, encourage anyone to ‘keep up with the news.’

Instead, I meet men who insist that they don’t follow the news, but then proceed to express their opinions on everything that is currently being reported. Having been guilty of this myself, I am caused to ask why such a reluctance exists.

No one wants to admit that their thoughts are affected by news reports and commentators. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we can make up our own minds on everything – even though most of our information is coming from sources beyond our control or influence.

Nehemiah literally sat at the centre of political news in the Medo-Persian Empire (albeit as the Kings winetaster).

With much trepidation, Nehemiah asked the pagan king to send him to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. He arrived in Jerusalem to a political mess. The enemies of the Jews knew that the reconstruction of the walls would bring a sense of security and national pride. Thus, they worked to undermine Nehemiah’s rebuild in every way they could.

Nehemiah could not, and did not, act as though the enemies did not exist – he did not turn off the news. What he did do was proceed to ‘get on with’ the task he was there to do.

Nehemiah had enemies everywhere. Shemaiah the priest told Nehemiah that he could avoid a plot against him by hiding in the temple. He claimed to have heard secret news that he was to be killed; but Nehemiah saw through it.

Consider his response: “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” (Neh.6:11).

Running after fake news would have crippled Nehemiah’s leadership, stalled the wall reconstruction, and probably ended his life at the hands of the treacherous priests.

If you consider yourself a leader in the Lord’s church, you too will have to discern the sources of information that come your way. Your work for the Lord depends on it.

John Staiger

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