Numbers 21:5 – They began to speak against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!" (NLT)
If I thought it, I was wrong. No one ever said that leading was easy or popular. I had been chosen as the leader of a local organization. Accepting the position required moving almost three hours away. Since my wife and I felt the Lord calling us there, we went. Things went well initially — until I began changing some things. With the help of a few key leaders, we made some changes that would take the entity to new heights by making it more competitive and attractive — and it worked. More people began to join, people who would serve it well into the next generation. Then it happened. Grumbling. Complaining. The majority followed my lead and enjoyed the new growth and opportunities. Others remained, but continually grumbled and complained. A few chose to leave. It got lonely at the top.
Moses knew how lonely the top could be. The job that God offered him seemed attractive, yet scary. Who wouldn't want to lead millions of people? Soon after he took the position, the grumbling and complaining began. They didn't like the route that he took them down, or the food that he fed them, or what he gave them to drink. On at least one occasion, they plotted to kill him.
In spite of his loneliness at the top, Moses demonstrated traits of a good leader. He was patient. The stubbornness of the people would have driven even the best man to drinking, but not Moses. He was focused on where he knew that God wanted him to take the people. He travelled in that direction even though the route was not the most pleasant one. He knew that God's way is always better. When they complained, he continued to lead. He was also compassionate. He knew that their rebellion would bring God's discipline — and it did, in the form of poisonous snakes — but he interceded to God on their behalf when they repented. Moses loved the people even when they were unlovable.
When God calls us to lead, let us do so with focus, compassion, obedience, and patience.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the privilege of leading. May we do it with unconditional love. Amen.
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