Biblical Leadership Series Part VI: A Leader Knows How to Take Care of the Goose

Do you remember Aesop’s Fable about the “Goose and the Golden Egg”? A farmer’s goose suddenly and unexplainable starts laying golden eggs. The farmer is just thrilled about this because he is becoming wealthy; however, he gets greedy and wants the goose to produce more and more eggs. He ends up killing the goose so he could get all the golden eggs at once. But when he killed the goose, he killed the source of his wealth. 

Nehemiah had motivated the people to do a great work. In a sense, they were laying golden eggs all over the place. But good leaders like Nehemiah know that if people work themselves to death and neglect the most important aspects of their lives, the very source of productivity (the goose) will cease to exist. After the wall was built, Nehemiah recognized that the wall was not the only thing in need of great repair. The people’s spiritual lives were in need of repair too. 

After the wall was finished, all the people gathered in the square before the Water Gate (Nehemiah 8:1) and Ezra, the scribe and priest, began to read the Law to them. Verse 3 says he read from early morning until midday – they were not worried about getting to the restaurants before everyone else! It had likely been years since they had heard anything read from God’s Word. It had such impact on them that they stood every time Ezra read. Our associate Pastor always has the congregation stand as he reads the text from which he is preaching. Now I totally understand why he does this. 

The reading of the Law caused a physical and spiritual reaction in the people. Let Neh. 8: 6 sink into your mind: Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Wow! How I pray that the word of God would so convict me that it would cause this kind of spontaneous worship in my own life. Imagine the power of this corporate act of worship based on God’s truth. This is whole-hearted Bible study in action! When is the last time reading God’s Word left your jaw-dropped or evoked such excitement that you scarcely knew what to do with yourself? 

So what does this have to do with the goose and the golden egg story I mentioned at the beginning of this post. After the reading of God’s Word and the strong reaction that the people experienced, Nehemiah encouraged them to go eat, drink, and to treat the day as holy. Effective leaders recognize when their people need to be fed spiritually and (sometimes even physically). They make conscientious efforts to take care of the whole person. If all leaders do is attempt to get the golden eggs, they will eventually kill the goose! 

Apply these truths to your personal life too. Are you working yourself into a frenzy and neglecting your physical health and your spiritual growth? How long will you be able to keep that up friend? We cannot effectively serve our God or the ones we love if we are not maintaining the goose! 

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