Last week, we looked at some qualifications for leadership. We looked in particular at an event in the life of Moses, Exodus 18.
I want to look at another leadership qualification that Moses models. It’s not the most glamorous or the most fun part of leadership, but it is a critical part.
Moses models perseverance. Now, no one who signs up for leadership signs up because they want to be challenged, attacked, and beat down by other people. But, often times that is what leadership looks like: being willing to make the difficult choices, being willing to stand for what is right when no one else will.
Moses models this trait well. Throughout his story in Exodus, Moses really doesn’t get much respect. He’s putting everything on the line for the Israelites. He goes before Pharaoh and announces the 10 plagues, at great risk to himself and his reputation. Later, he leads the people to the edge of the river, as God told him to, even though the people are grumbling and complaining the whole time.
Finally, he goes up on the mountain, to get very detailed instructions from God. He spends 40 days and nights there, again making sacrifices for the sake of the people. How do they repay him? By ignoring all that God has done and by creating a golden calf (Exodus 32).
What is interesting is how God uses these leadership challenges to grow Moses. I notice two changes in the life of Moses after all these struggles:
First, Moses continues to struggle. Things don’t automatically get easier for him. That’s a powerful leadership truth in and of itself.
Secondly, I notice that Moses’ heart is changed. It is not us much his heart towards the people that has changed, although that is part of it. It is his heart toward God. After Moses is burned by the people’s disobedience, he grows deeper in his relationship to God. The experiences that Moses has with God after the golden calf incident indicate that his leadership challenges have drawn him closer to God, not made him bitter.
What challenges are you facing in your leadership?
Are you allowing leadership challenges to draw you closer to God, or are you allowing stress and bitterness to grow?