It Takes Energy to Lead

Nehemiah, a leader of the Jews during the time of the Persian empire, had heard about the sorry state of Jerusalem. His brother described how the walls were torn down and the gates burned. About how this made the city a laughingstock among the nations.

Chapter 1 of the book describing his work describes how he was motivated to do somehing about the problem. The next chapter describes how he traveled 800 miles to Jerusalem. He arrived, but said nothing for three days. Then he went out with a small group at night to survey the situation.

Today, I can get into a car and drive a mile over to I-75 then head south for 800 miles and stop at a hotel in south Georgia in one day and be a little tired. For Nehemiah and his troops and entourage, it was a long and physically demanding trip. He took three days to recover and rebuild his energy. Then he could cast his vision for the restoration of the walls to the people.

It takes energy to lead. Energy comes from attitude, fitness, nutrition, adequate rest. People feed off the energy of their leaders.

But, the energy must be positive and uplifiting. Many leaders have an energy that destroys motivation. The energy is perhaps nervous energy. Or perhaps self-directed. Maybe it comes from the “high” pole of bi-polar disorder. Maybe it comes from fear.

On the other hand, have you ever met people who seem to just suck the energy right out of you? They are exhausting!

If you take care of your body–as Paul describes it as the temple of the spirit, then you have the beginnings of energy. Next build prayer into the rhythms of your work. Your work, indeed, becomes prayer in action. Your service becomes prayer in action actually building more energy as you expend it on your service. (Another one of life’s paradoxes.)

Einstein worked out the math to come up with energy=mass times the speed of light squared. Leadership=energy times vision.

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