Facing opposition and distraction during projects
"Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono." But they were planning to harm me.3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?"
Neh 6:2-3 (NASB)
"It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports.7 "You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you , 'A king is in Judah!' And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let us take counsel together."8 Then I sent a message to him saying, "Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind."9 For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking , "They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done." But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
Neh 6:6-9 (NASB)
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days
Neh 6:15 (NASB)
O - This portion of the project Nehemiah faces external forces that are not excited to see him be successful at completing, and therefore send many distractions to him and the people to discourage them from progressing their good work. First the distraction come from neighboring enemies that simply invite him to come down and talk, but Nehemiah knew of their plans to harm him, and answered with purpose and focus , that his place was there on the project, not out negotiating and discussing with those who wish to distract and do harm to them. In their second attempt at derailing, they tried to make it sound like Nehemiah was setting up to proclaim the kingdom his to rule, and by doing so cause the Persians to come against them. Now we know from the history, that Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the king of Persia in Babylon, and it was out of that trusted relationship that Artaxerxes supported Nehemiah's efforts. God had given him that position in Babylon for a time such as this where his loyalty would be challenged. His response was once again, wise and appropriate. He responded directly that he knew they were trying to discourage and distract him for the work of God, and then he prayed to God, "Strengthen my hands". The results the wall was completed in 52 days (with sabbath rest of course!)
A - The application for me and project managers is that we will face distractions of many sorts during a project. Many of the distractions we face are not a result of the actual work, but from the churn that stirs up around our project as a result of our good, work, and others suspicions and desires to see us not be successful (for whatever the reason - fear, jealousy, pride, hidden agendas). As a project manager, I need to do what Nehemiah did and use the discernment leaders have to have to determine when to take time and address these distractions and when to simply ignore them, stay focused at the task at hand, and seek God's hand to strengthen our hands.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for the focus and trust in you and your calling that Nehemiah had. Help me to stay focused on the mission and not be distracted by the external circumstances; that I might pray and seek your strength in times of need. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen