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!”
If I thought it would be easy, I was wrong.
No one ever said 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.
Initially, all was well. Then I made some unpopular decisions. 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 joined—individuals 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 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. The people didn’t like the route he took, the food he offered, or the water he provided. 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 drink, but not Moses. He was focused on where he knew God wanted him to take the people. He traveled in that direction even though the route was unpleasant. He knew God’s way was always better. When the people complained, he continued to lead. He was also compassionate. He knew their rebellion would bring God’s discipline—and it did in the form of poisonous snakes—but Moses prayed, interceding on the people’s behalf when they repented. He loved them even when they were unlovable.
When God calls you to lead, do it with focus, compassion, obedience, and patience.
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by Martin Wiles
Martin Wiles is a minister, author, English teacher, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is the author of six books, including his two latest, Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He has been published in a number of periodicals, books, and newspapers. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.