Effective leaders create structure that addresses the methods by which resources flow through the organization to accomplish work. Read Numbers 11:1-35.
When Moses couldn’t handle all of the responsibilities of leading Israel, God told him to enlist seventy qualified persons, empower them and allow them to help to carry the burden. Moses was overwhelmed and the people under-served so God took action. The existing system wasn’t working so He changed it. It wasn’t about “who’s the boss”, it was about who would serve the people.
Leaders who selfishly pursue their own interests above those of God and others become unfaithful stewards whose influence debase rather than edify. A few select passages from 2 Kings that bring this point home are: 3:1-3; 8:16-27; 12:1-8; 13:1-6.
The second book of the kings of Israel and Judah describes the final days of the divided kingdom before both halves fall into captivity. As much as anything, this book is the story of failed leadership. Although there were some examples of earthly success, there were very few leaders that showed godly character, competence and compassion and the people they led reflected the deficiencies of the leaders.
One of my personal heroes of the Bible has very little written about him but a lot said about him because of his actions. Read Numbers 13:26-33 and Joshua 14:6-14.
Caleb was one of the spies sent into the land of Canaan before Israel’s planned invasion. When the spies returned, they told Moses that “the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendents of Anak there” (Numbers 13:28). “Then Caleb … said ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it’” (Numbers 13:30). I love that Caleb did not disagree with the facts given by the other spies, there were cities and giants in the land. Caleb didn’t minimize the obstacles, but neither did he minimize the resources available to overcome the obstacles.
Many of us work daily on specific areas of personal/character development or becoming better at specific leadership techniques and principles. This daily effort allows us to utilize the potential God created in us. Along with this daily growth, we are well served to periodically look at the big picture of how God develops a leader and make application to our own situation.
Joshua became a leader at one of Israel’s most difficult times in its history. Within days of his appointment he led the nation across the Jordan River into hostile territory and set out to conquer, divide and settle the land God had promised the Hebrew people. It was a daunting task but Joshua succeeded in this assignment as God’s leader. A brief review may help you see how your daily work fits into the big picture of becoming God’s leader for the assignment He has given you:
Becoming a leader is not a quick, simple process. It may be possible to become a self-made leader but that would be rare by any standard and impossible for a Christian. If the Spirit of God is not in control of leading and directing a Christian leader, they may develop skills but those skills bring glory to themselves not to God. Most highly successful, effective Christian leaders receive input not only from the Spirit of God but also from another leader that invests in them. Joshua is a tremendous example of such a leader. Read Numbers 27:15-23.
This portion of scripture is right at the end of Moses life when he was publicly passing the mantle of leadership to Joshua. There are excellent leadership lessons for both the mentor and the person receiving the mentoring in these few verses: