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How to Focus and leave a purpose-driven life: Life lessons from the Book of Nehemiah

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Have you ever wondered how some people just accomplish things and seem to succeed at what they do? Have you ever thought about how legacies are built? What really separates these individuals from the rest of us? I believe one of the important keys to accomplishing things is the ability to focus. I don't think there is a magic formula for how to focus but finding ways not to get distracted and doing what you are supposed to do when it's supposed to be done.

How to focus and leave a purpose-driven life.

I recently had a debate with a friend about a bold statement that I made declaring that " Nehemiah was the father of Project Management". She couldn't disagree more. She argued that Nehemiah was in no way near the people who built the tower of Babel. In fact, she had great points to support her argument. She argued that the tower of babel was believed to have been taller than Burj Khalifa the current tallest building in the world right now and as a result, she believed they managed and constructed a superior project. She also reminded me that one can not possibly talk about the power of thoughts and imagination without mentioning how the tower of Bable came about which was an important key. Actually, in my book the Ancient prayer blueprint, I write about the power of thoughts and imagination & I referenced that project to support my observations. God declared in Genesis 11:6 " and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."

Regardless, as someone who has a certification in Project Management, I couldn't help but recognize not only was Nehemiah a great leader Who lived a purpose-driven life, but he also had Project management skills and applied best practices. I personally believe he ran a superior project to those who were responsible for the Tower of Babel. During the Tower of Babel era, the people were one- meaning they were united but Nehemiah had opposition and had to be mentally tough. He teaches us how to stay focused.

He was a man who lived a life of meaning, depth, and influence. When he received the bad news that Jerusalem lay in ruins, He immediately felt a burden and understood he had to act.

He felt the burden because he understood the importance of Jerusalem as part of Yahweh’s covenant promise. He immediately recognized he has just been presented with an assignment. Even though he was in a servanthood position he also was in a trusted position. He knew he was divinely positioned & leveraged power.

Nehemiah took advantage of his access to the king & the resources that came with it. Unlike the Tower of Babel folks, he was a Prayerful man. He sought the direction of the covenant keeping God first before he acted. While praying, he asked for Favor before he approached the King, which is a very important key. As a result of his consultation with God, he was able to come up with a plan and also presented his project goal before the king. He was prepared. He had a deadline & was able to provide the timeline that the King needed. Because he had the foresight to satisfy the project scope he also requested documentation to make sure other stakeholders like Governors & the keeper of the Royal park were in alignment with the project.

Despite being in his Devine assignment & initiating the project effectively by making sure all the stakeholders were in alignment, he still faced obstacles. Two detractors in particular called Sanballat & Tobias. The Bible states that these two men were disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites. They represented evil gatekeepers. They intimidated and antagonized him with outrageous claims, sarcasm, gossip, mockery, threats, False accusations, fake hunches & evil plots including hiring a prophet called Shemiah to try to deceive him. But Nehemiah cool as a cucumber (because of his heart posture ) remained hungry resilient & focused. He did so by reminding them who the power behind the project was. He prayed consistently and basically handed them over to God. He persevered.

Lessons to learn from Nehemiah a focused extraordinary leader ;

#1 - You are not born for you!

You are not born for you! Your life was never for you. There are destinies attached to who God created you to be. Nehemiah understood this truth. When he heard what happened to Jerusalem he did something about it. You are born to solve a problem.

#2 - Don't move with trends! Go after your Divine Assignment!

Unlike our friends at Babel who actually attempted something extraordinary, Nehemiah’s project wasn’t ego driven. He wasn’t intending to prove a point. This was an Assignment of Promise & destiny. He made sure he consulted God first. Even though he was emotionally moved by what he heard, he wasn't controlled by his emotions. His focus was to be useable in the hands of God.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” ~ Max de Pree

Tip #3 - Prayer Alone is not enough

The right prayer is a great starting point, But Always have a Plan & be prepared. Many believers are so heavenly-minded that they are of no earthly good. To be useful in the hands of the creator one has to balance Kingsly anointing to rule, reign, and dominate in the marketplace and Priestly anointing to walk in the call God has given. After his prayers, Nehemiah made sure he took all the necessary lawful steps to make sure the project was a success. He was a true professional.

Tip #4 - Timing is Key

Be gentle as a dove & wise as a serpent - Notice in Nehemiah 2:12, Nehemiah mentions he had not shared everything that God had put in his heart to do for Jerusalem. Timing is everything. Know what to share & when. Even though God was part of this project Nehemiah understood that the execution was entirely on him. Many great projects are dead on arrival because people talk took. I remember when I was young my mother say "don't share your life too much, you are putting air in them. As a teenager, I didn't understand. now I get it. One has to Know when to share.

Tip #5 - Let your vision be clear

Because of Clarity of vision, toughness & resiliency, Nehemiah was able to motivate and influence a broken People. Arise & build. If the vision is not clear, confusion and chaos and chaos are a guarantee.

The bottom line is...

We have to starve our distractions and feed our focus. Despite the noise around him, Nehemiah was uber-focused and had the capacity to eliminate any distractions.

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