Getting a big job done calls for heart. Having a high IQ is not essential. Neither is being a certain age. Or possessing a particular temperament. You don’t even need the backing of the majority. History books are full of incredible stories of men and women who accomplished remarkable feats in the face of unbelievable odds.
While reading through the exciting story of Nehemiah recently, I was reminded again of this principle. You remember Nehemiah, the Jewish leader whose passion for Jerusalem drove him to leave the security of his home and job in Persia to superintend the building of a protective wall around Zion. What a project! And what obstacles stood against him! But the job got done in record time. Why? Nehemiah stated the reason in his journal entry: “So we built the wall . . . for the people had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6).
Check the margin of your Bible. The term translated “mind” is the Hebrew word for “heart.” Another word for it might be “courage.” In fact, they are related.
In an early copy of Webster’s dictionary (1828), the author points out that courage comes from coeur, the French word for heart: “Courage is the quality that enables one to face difficulty and danger with firmness, without fear or depression.” And then, as Webster (a born-again Christian) often did in those days, he concluded his definition with a Scripture reference: Deuteronomy 31. That chapter includes Moses’ final speech to the children of Israel shortly before his death and Joshua’s taking up the torch of leadership. At 120 years of age, Moses tells ’em, “Ya gotta have heart!”
Since the children of Israel were not people of great courage (they’d been slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years), Moses knew how easy it would be for Joshua and his troops to lose heart.
I’m not suggesting that all of us must be Nehemiahs or Joshuas. Sometimes that may be necessary, but I have observed over the years that some of the greatest demonstrations of courage occur in private places. Sometimes just staying with something over the long haul—maintaining the vision year after year—is magnificent proof of a courageous heart.
You may or may not be a leader. But chances are good that you are influencing others in some measure. Don’t just watch things happen. Get in there with both feet. Risk, for a change. Make some waves. Cut a new swath. Quit waiting for the other guy. You get the job done!
One reminder: Ya gotta have heart.
“Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks” (Herodotus).