We’re all different. We have different likes, dislikes, abilities, passions, quirks, ticks, and personalities. We all have different gifts, capabilities, and capacities. We have different resources and outlooks.
None of those are a mistake. In fact, read any part of the Bible or spend anytime leading other people and you’ll soon discover that we’re not all the same. It doesn’t take a registered people expert to determine that. Because we’re not all wired and made the same, we can find our share of difficulties when in relationship with other people.
Whether we’re in a relationship with our spouse, making new friends in high school, raising our kids, or leading a team, the differences in us all can be somewhat difficult to navigate. The tempting thing, especially for those of us with higher levels of capability and big callings, can be to push people away that don’t seem to think like us, or be willing to learn what we want them to learn.
I’m glad God has never pushed away people that are difficult to lead.
One of the greatest leaders in all of scripture is Moses. Spend any time at a leadership conference or reading a leadership book and you’re 99.998 % likely to hear about his style of leadership. Moses was a man with a past that God called to dramatically impact the future. God called Moses, a man who had already been an orphan and a murderer to a big task in Exodus 3:10:
“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
The temptation when reading that verse is to immediately think that Moses was fully gifted for a call that God had put in front of him. Did Moses have a past? Sure. Was God going to call someone that didn’t have all the tools they needed to get the job done? You wouldn’t think so. That’s exactly what God did. In fact, in the next verse we can see a little bit about how incapable Moses himself thought he was…
“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’”
And again a chapter later. Here, Moses got specific with God about how incapable he was…
“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’”
Now, many of us know the rest of the story. After this, Moses would do some bold things for God and God’s people. He’d approach Pharaoh over and over knowing Pharaoh wasn’t going to listen. He’d approach the people’s sins head on and beg with God on their behalf. He’d get called to the top of a mountain and get instructions for the rest of humanity. He’d get a glimpse of God Himself. While he eventually fell into pride and didn’t get to see the land promised to his people, Moses is mentioned several times in the New Testament as being a hero of the faith.
One of the most amazing parts of the Moses story is that he let God teach him. God led Him each day, every day. God would instruct him. God would discipline Him. God would provide practical information and tangible tools.
As leaders, we often look at Moses’ leadership, but we should also look at God’s leadership of Moses. When Moses argued with God in Exodus 3 about his calling, God could have easily told him he was right and gone with someone else. I’m sure there were more polished and smarter people out there. He didn’t. Instead, God chose to coach Moses through the greatest comeback story of all time. He walked in close relationship with Moses. He even changed His plan once when Moses requested.
As leaders, relationships are still key. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to build real relationships with those we lead, but we have to do it. We have to know them, their families, and even let them speak into our lives at times. Sure, they may not be someone we would pick as a close friend, but if we find them worth leading, we have to find them worth our investing.
I love How God led Moses through his insecurities of speech and ability. Moses wasn’t so sure He could speak to the people or to God for that matter, but God boosted his self esteem early on by showing Him that he was with him every step of the way. “Throw down your staff and make it a snake.” God was with Moses. Our people, no matter how “unqualified” or insecure they may seem, have to know we have their back. That we’ll support them and provide the tools they need to grow and make it in whatever we’re placing them in. Too often we write people off as incapable when we just haven’t been empowering.
I’m thankful today that God is a patient leader. His patience has lead to my redemption, my life, and my eternity. He still leads us the same way He led Moses—patiently, lovingly, and gracefully. We have to borrow from that example. Our organization, our church, our business, our students, our families will be better because of it.