Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Call of the Leader

The greatest leaders never choose the greatness that finds them. Most great leaders find themselves reluctantly in the position of influence. This is certainly the case with Moses. Moses, in fact, is a study in contrast. When he was 40 he sought the greatness of leadership. He wanted to be the one to lead the Hebrew people out from under the thumb of Pharaoh. But for all his training, confidence, skill, and political position, Moses flopped as a leader. But then, 40 years later at the age of 80, Moses is flying "under the radar," living a quiet and, the Bible says, "content" life. He is a shepherd working for his father-in-law. Hardly the position, age and location from which one of the greatest leaders in world history would be born.

But when God is in the mix, anything, and I mean anything, is possible. As you read through the third and fourth chapters of Exodus, you get the very distinct impression that being a leader is the last thing Moses wants for his life. He is the consummate reluctant leader. He tries to weasel his way out of God's call through various forms of questioning and self-deprecation. He even reaches the point of telling God, "NO." After enduring the wrath of a God that will not take "no" for an answer, Moses reluctantly submits and goes along with God's plan to free the Hebrew people.

Reluctance: that is the operative word here. And I actually think that it is the reluctance of Moses, coupled with the clear call of God, that made for a powerful mix. In all of this, I think there are several items worth noting:

  1. Great leadership understands that God has to be the one calling the shots. Moses tried it his way and failed. He submitted to God's way, in spite of incredible self-doubt, and succeeded.
  2. It is a dangerous thing to reject the leadership call of God. I sometimes wonder at the enormous lack of blessing that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ might be experiencing because they say "no" to the call of God.
  3. Leadership is a balance between self-confidence and God-confidence.
  4. God uses past failures to help us face greater challenges.

Passage for Reflection: Exodus 3-4

Can I share with you a moment of transparency? There are times when I feel woefully inadequate to serve as the pastor of GABC. The position seems so much bigger than me, what I can handle, what I can do. But what brings me back each and every day is the clear call of God. Ministry is tough, pastoring is very difficult – it is so easy to focus on the many ways in which I fall short rather than where I succeed. I must tell you I would not be doing this were it not for the call of God. In a sense, I am more afraid not to pastor than I am to pastor. It is my prayer that this tension makes me good pastor, a good leader.

"Lord, may I be humble enough to know what I can't do, and submissive to You in order to cover the gap. Amen."



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