Nothing adverse is said about Nehemiah in the Scriptures. Like Daniel, Joseph, and Noah, he is set forth only as a man who faithfully served God. Of course, like the rest of us, he still sinned. But his life as a whole remained steadfast to the Lord. It is, therefore, interesting to note some of what God did through him to bless His people.
Here, let’s consider only one item—one that may appear insignificant. But it is often of significance to consider how one handles insignificant matters. It usually tells you much about him.
In Nehemiah 5:15c (HCSB) we read,
I and my associates never ate from the food allotted to the governor.
Here, we see a man who cared. The people who had returned to Jerusalem remained a pitiful lot. They were poor, lived among the ruins of a formerly great city, were outcasts among those who lived in the land; their situation was miserable. Nehemiah recognized the fact and cared. Already burdened beyond belief, to take upon themselves a new responsibility, now that the new governor had arrived, would have been almost beyond their ability. Or, so Nehemiah saw it.
So, on his own, he determined not to place an additional burden upon their shoulders. He was entitled to his share of the food allotment that was to be given to him and his officials. But he chose not to enjoy that entitlement. He understood the needs of others and, in effect, determined to identify with them. Here was no pompous person, gobbling up all he can get from others; rather, here was a servant of the Lord who saw his responsibility in that service to stand with—not above—those he served.
What a difference there would be in government today were our officials to adopt a similar attitude. Of course, it would not take the same form that it did with Nehemiah. But to adopt Nehemiah’s attitude would have significant impact. Of interest, in this regard, can you think of five ways in which our officials could refuse to take advantage of those perks that are rightfully theirs for the taking? It might be a challenge to you as well if you should do so.