Following the Leader
“‘But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’” Exodus 3:11-12
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” Exodus 13:21-22
My first opportunity to serve as a leader I failed. My freshman year in college, I was the Event Chair of a large student fashion show. In front of the crowd, the show was a success and I was high on the accolades that I received, but behind the scenes I failed and made an error because I did not realize that with leadership comes responsibility as I failed to honor an agreement with 3 of our sponsors. I may not remember the words, but I will never forget the disappointment I saw in my advisors face after we discussed how I dropped the ball. Since then, professionally and through various commitments, I have served in a leadership capacity in some arena; as a manager of staff or a chair of a committee with 25+ people with various personalities. From that, I learned as a part of my management style to remain flexible and fluid to the suggestions of the individual’s you manage, while remaining focused on your core purpose; and as a Christian, to the make sure your leadership and decisions align with the Word of God. It is not as easy as it seems. You see, leading people is the most difficult job anyone can EVER have because everyone has their own opinion of what is right and what should be done; their own belief system and moral code of right and wrong; and free will. .
Although history has told the story of many great leaders, I can think of no other leader that would ever have Moses’ responsibility. In the text, we find Moses leading not a few thousand people from under the rule of Pharaoh, but upwards of a million people – people who were used to living and thinking with a slave mentality. I can’t begin to imagine the magnitude of the task before him. After all, God gave him the task of convincing people that a murderer was now a called man of God. He also had to show unbelievable faith in his ability to follow God and lead the Israelites to the very foot of the Red Sea, as he watched the waters separate into the dry path of the future. Moses then had to encourage the Israelites to walk between two walls of water and to trust that those same waters would not come falling down upon them. But what was the key to Moses’ leadership? It was not just that he himself knew how to follow, lessons he learned as he lived as humbled shepherd, it was whom he followed, God. As we study scripture and Moses’ leadership style, the one constant thing in Moses’ life was that he went to the Lord with everything. With the exception of one time (which kept him from entering the promise land), in every choice, every decision, and every obstacle, he followed God’s instruction. He was submissive to God.
Since that time in college, I have served as a leader and under various leaders, all of which shaped me for leadership and following, but none so much as my relationship with Christ. So I ask you, what type of leader are you? What type of follower? Each day we are called to be both, but the most important thing is not who we follow, but whom we follow, God, and what God’s purpose is for our position.
Today you have a decision to make as a leader and a follower. Whom and what will be your blueprint for both? As a Christian, I believe it is always centered on the Word, not the whim of people, and will of God. Your circumstance may require you having clarity of His will, but rest assured that the biblical blueprint of His Word will never contradict that.