6/26 Nehemiah 5:15

15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

The people that had returned to Jerusalem had to pay hefty taxes each year. Some of them had to mortgage their land and even sold their daughters into servitude to remain there. In addition, they were spending much of their time helping to build the city wall. Nehemiah saw their hardship. Instead of demanding an increased tax to cover his expenses of feeding his servants and dignitaries that came, he met the need on his own.

He was not like the governors that came before him. He and his servants worked alongside the people. They did not take advantage of their authority, but rather used it to serve the people. This is exactly what Jesus did. He said that He had come to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45). If anyone had the right to be served and make demands on others, it is our Creator. Instead He showed us the right way to lead, just as Nehemiah did. It was consistent with Jesus' teaching that the greatest among you will be your servant (Matthew 23:11). It is having a heart for those in need.

Nehemiah prayed that God would remember his sacrifice. He believed that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). He knew that in the end, it was better to live in the fear of God, trusting God to reward him for the sacrifices he was making.

Consider: We are all granted some authority in one way or another in our life. Let us follow the example of Nehemiah and Jesus and use it to serve others, knowing that our reward is in heaven.