So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire. Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass. So I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work.
Before the rebuilding process in Jerusalem had begun and before a single recruit had been enlisted for the challenging task, Nehemiah made a careful analysis of the situation before him. When he finally arrived in Jerusalem after a long journey of anticipation, he waited for three days before doing anything. Then, alone and in the middle of the night, he mounted a horse and surveyed the ruined walls in the moonlight shadows: “I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:12).
Leadership is often a lonely assignment. Before any major work of rebuilding is accomplished, someone must take his own midnight ride to honestly review the ruins of the situation. And often, as in the case of Nehemiah, that person must even weep over the ruins with deep compassion and determined concern. Note that Nehemiah did not send some underling to check out the situation and bring him back a written report with a suggested plan to go forward. There are some things that simply cannot be delegated in the process of rebuilding. It is part of the price of effective leadership. Those who lead others to accomplish great tasks in life usually struggle long and hard—and often alone—before their plans are ever made public. But one of the best ways leaders can build a team spirit among their own troops is to make sure they have all the facts right before they begin. Rebuilders do not rush into the process without doing their homework.
Content drawn from The Nehemiah Code: It’s Never Too Late for a New Beginning.