In the last article about leadership, we examined how Abraham, the father of faith, was also a great leader. Leadership is an art and must be learned. Some say that leaders are born and it is something that you either have or do not have. This is not according to the clear teachings of the Scriptures. The Bible teaches that leaders are made through the process of discipleship. God gives the spiritual gift of leadership to some (but not to all) yet even with the gift, if the person is not trained, then his or her leadership skills will greatly suffer. Abraham was made a leader because of his personal relationship with God. Today, we want to view the life of Moses, a man who was not a natural born leader, but grew into the role because of his personal relationship with God.
I. A good leader is a person who is willing to serve an ungrateful group of people in the midst of suffering, so that the Name of God will be glorified.
Many times people seek to be leaders so that they can be served by others. In fact, that is our human nature. We want people under our authority so that they will serve us the way that we tell them to do. This is not what leadership is like according to God. He calls people to be servant leaders. He is not looking for the best motivational speakers to fire up the people and get them to act. He is looking for people who are willing to stand in the gap for a group of people who do not deserve it. Moses was called during a time of great suffering. He was not called to sit in a chariot and give directions to the people while being fanned and fed grapes all day. He was called to lead a group of ungrateful slaves out of the heart of enemy territory, through a wilderness to a land which he had never seen. Many people want to lead but they want a good team and the right conditions. How many want want to sign up for Moses’ job if they knew what they were getting? Joshua, who served under Moses for 40 years, was not too thrilled about leading this group of people into the promised land. The book of Joshua opens with Joshua lying face down before the Lord, overcome by fear. Why? Because he knew what kind of people he was about to have to lead into the promised land. He was not too thrilled about it. Before Moses learned to be a leader according to God’s plan, he tried to lead the people his way. He had lived a life of luxury in the Pharaoh’s palace, yet when he saw the state of his people, he tried to free them (lead them) according to the world’s way of leadership. He took charge and tried to lead by force. He ended up killing a man and as a result, the people did not want to follow him. A good leader cannot force the people to follow him. He must earn their respect and their willingness to follow. At that time, Moses had not yet learned to be a servant leader. He was yet to meet God face to face in order to learn how to be a servant leader so that the people would want to follow him.
II. A good leader must first be called by God and then answer that call, in order to be ready to lead the people around him.
In Exodus 3 we see Moses living his life as a simple man. He is not having much of an impact on the world around him. He is keeping his head down, working hard, and raising his children. He is living a common life as a common man. There is nothing wrong with being a common man and living a simple life, but as Christians, God has called us to have an impact in the world, to be salt and light. If we are not having a positive impact then we are not being salt and light. God decided that it was time to set Moses on the path to having an impact. God seeks out ordinary people living ordinary lives, first, to transform them, and then to have them impact the world. Are you ready to be used by God in this way? Do you excuse yourself from positively impacting the people around you saying that you are just an ordinary person living an ordinary life.
III. A good leader wants to know God’s will (plan) and is willing to accept it no matter what.
When God called Moses, He also revealed His plan to Moses. Moses knew about God’s immediate plans (to deliver the Hebrews from bondage) as well as His ultimate plans (to give the promised land to them, in other words, the promises of the Abrahamic covenant). Moses is an example for all leaders. We see here that a leader is not a person who never fears what he is called to do. Moses was afraid (just like Joshua was too). Moses began to make excuses because he did not know God like he should have known Him. God reveals Himself as Jehovah, the Self-existing One. In other words, God tells Moses, “in order to be a leader and accomplish My purpose, all you need to have is My presence with you”. That is the key to being a successful leader, knowing God and walking according to His plan. As Moses spends more time with God, God begins to reveal more and more of His plan. Moses knows what he needs to do step by step. He also knows what he needs to expect. This is very important for a leader, the fact that he knows God’s will and plans out his ministry step by step with God’s help.
IV. A good leader will not lose heart when things do not go well every moment of every day.
Moses had problems with the people, with Pharaoh, etc. but he did not give up. He did not back down. He continued to trust in the Lord every step of the way. By the time Moses does lead the people out of Egypt, he is ready for the real challenge; leading the stiff necked people through the wilderness to the promised land. Each trail is preparation for the next task because he trusts God and does not give up. When things get difficult, he turns to God. A good leader does not seek his own solutions to problems with his own great wisdom, instead, he runs to God immediately and seeks His advice, His response to the difficult situations. How do you view the trials in your own personal life? Do you see them as a training experience for the next big thing that God wants to do with you or, do you try to use your own wisdom, end up making bad decisions, and then just give up?
Are you ready to be a leader for the Lord? Are you ready to be the kind of leader who makes a lasting impact in the lives of the people around you? Do you seek to know God, to meet with Him face to face on a daily basis through His Word? Do you seek to be a servant leader for the benefit of the people you lead and the glory of God? What are you doing with your leadership position? The more that you get to know God the more you will learn to trust in Him and depend upon Him which will lead you to have an impact in the lives of the people around you. May God bless us to be good servant leaders.