What better place to look for good leadership than in the Bible. What better person to look at for leadership than Moses. For generations Christian leaders have looked at and learned from Moses; both his successes as well as his failures. Rick Warren shares some insightful ideas on how to lead like Moses.
Originally published by Rick Warren
We need more Christian leaders in the world today. Everything—including our churches and our communities—rises and falls on leadership. Without a leader, nothing that needs to be done will ever get done.
Unfortunately, there is a shortage of servant leaders in our world. God has called you to lead. You may not think you have the ideal personality to lead, but God can use any personality.
You can see this in the life of the greatest leader of the Old Testament, Moses. He once led a million slaves out of bondage. He wrote the first books of the Bible. God used him in incredible ways.
Why did God use Moses?
He settled four important issues that all effective leaders need to settle.
1. Moses knew his identity.
Leadership doesn’t begin with understanding those you lead. It begins with self-awareness. You need to come to grips with who you are and who you are not. You need to know your background, your strengths, and weaknesses.
Moses had an identity crisis. He had to figure out who he was. He was born as a Hebrew slave but raised as Egyptian royalty. As he got older, he had to decide: Am I a Hebrew slave or Egyptian royalty? That choice would define the rest of his life.
Moses was a man of integrity. He did what was right instead of what was comfortable. It would have been easier to choose the royal life, but instead he chose to identify with an enslaved people. Hebrews 11:24-25 tells us, “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of the king of Egypt’s daughter. He chose to suffer with God’s people instead of enjoying sin for a short time” (NCV).
Moses didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t. Neither should we. Only you can be you. Success is being what God made you to be.
2. Moses accepted responsibility.
Leaders accept responsibility for the problems of others. They don’t make excuses about problems they see; they choose to do something about them.
God has given us an enormous amount of freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility. Moses could have ignored the pain of the enslaved Israelites, but he didn’t. He chose to take on their suffering. Hebrews 11:25 says, “He chose to suffer with God’s people instead of enjoying sin for a short time” (NCV).
Hebrews 11 tells us that when Moses “grew up,” he took on the responsibility of the Israelites. Part of maturity is learning to take on responsibility. It’s choosing to make an impact with your life.
3. Moses set priorities.
Because you don’t have time to do everything, you must settle the question of what matters most. You need to settle your values.
Job says in Job 34:4, “We should choose to follow what is right. But first of all we must define among ourselves what is good” (TLB). We all need to spend some time defining what’s good. It’s how we clarify our values, which is essential in setting our priorities.
If you don’t decide what’s important, other people—your family, your congregation, your friends, your community, and so on—will do it for you. Others will be glad to fill up your schedule if you let them.
Moses is a good example of someone who knew how to set priorities. Hebrews 11:26 says, “[Moses] regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (NIV). Moses evaluated his life, considered the eternal reward, and recognized the greater value in pursuing God’s plan for his life.
4. Moses focused on eternity.
Leaders are long-term thinkers. They choose to focus their lives on things that impact eternity. Colossians 3:1-2 describes it this way: “Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side. Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth” (CEV).
Many leaders fall into one of two leadership traps. First, they get discouraged because they look at the problems around them and get overwhelmed. Second, they listen to what people are saying about them and get prideful. An eternal focus is the antidote to both traps.
The Bible says about Moses, “It was by faith that Moses left Egypt and was not afraid of the king’s anger. Moses continued strong as if he could see the God that no one can see” (Hebrews 11:27 NCV). The Pharaoh was the supreme ruler and commander of Egypt. He could command you to do anything. But Moses reported to a higher authority.
Because Moses focused on God, he kept going, even when it was difficult. Leaders don’t know how to give up. The secret of success is persistence. The secret of persistence is looking ahead.
God has brought you to the ministry you’re in now so you can lead others. But like Moses, you must stay focused on God. The Bible says, “We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete” (Hebrews 12:2 CEV).
You’re called to run the race of ministry. Don’t listen to the people in the stands—some will cheer, others will jeer. Keep your eyes on the goal and the race God has put you on this planet to run.