The Hard Part About Being a Leader

The Bible gives us so many great examples of leadership. Perhaps, among the greatest is Moses. Certainly, God called Moses at a pivotal time in history. Moses is forever known for leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt, but Moses was unable to lead Israel into the Promised Land. Moses shows all of us who aspire to leadership something about the “hard part of being a leader.”

First, leaders are chosen, but still make the choice to be a leader. God chose Moses, but that did not confirm entirely his standing as a leader. Moses made excuses, but in the end, he made a choice to answer God’s call.

Second, Moses’ example shows us that a leader is defined not by successes or credentials, but equally a leader is defined by crises and criticisms. After leading the people out of Egypt, he faced crises and criticisms immediately and often. This defined Moses as much as the successes. A leader is not confirmed as a leader until crisis and criticism comes. The way that the leader reacts in those times is going to make the leader. Have you heard the audio recording of Pilot Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot of the Southwest Airlines flight who made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after the plane appeared to blow an engine? Her grace in the midst of the crisis will forever define her.

Third, Moses’ example shows us that we are accountable for our own actions, but in a way also accountable for the actions that those we are attempting to lead make. Moses was held accountable because he struck the rock in anger therefore not showing the holiness of God (Numbers 20). However, before this, God had said that only Joshua and Caleb would enter the Promised Land because of that generation’s failure to go to the Promised Land when God said “Go.” Both Moses’ actions and that of Israel disallowed Moses to go into the Promised Land it seems.

So, how do we deal with these hard things in leadership?

Keep going back to the calling and promises of God. God promised Moses that He would be with him.

Develop a team around you. Develop some to pray. (See Exodus 17.) Develop a team to help (See Exodus 18.) Develop a team to encourage. (Somebody has to balance the critics.) Develop someone to pick up where you leave off. (Note the relationship of Moses and Joshua.)

The writer of Hebrews recorded about Moses, “for he persevered as someone who sees him who is invisible.”

And so can you persevere by ultimately keeping our eyes on God, the One who is invisible!