The Right Way of Being Right
Moses Flees to Midian1
One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?” He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses.
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
There is a time and place to stand up and step out. Many leaders are born in the fires of injustice and are often some of the first to take a stand and speak out against it. Unlike those who only talk, or who choose to take personal stands against things privately, real leaders pair speech with action that inspires others to see things according to their perspective and motivates them to do something about it themselves. Leadership can be a powerful, persuasive force in our world – for both good and bad.
It is not only a matter of knowing when and where to act that is important. It is just as important knowing how to act when you get there.. This is what separates the temporary leaders from the leaders who leave a strong legacy. Leaders for the moment focus on what will get the job done right now, and they generally have an immediate following up until the moment that there is pushback against them. Then they bail… or in some cases even attack their former leader.
That is how Moses started. He had position and some degree of power, and may have even had a modicum of respect from the Hebrew community. He was in a situation much like Esther who also used her position and power at the right time and place to save the lives of the Jewish people. Moses tried that. It didn’t work. He may have been in the right time and place to see injustice and take a stand against it, but the way he took a stand completely backfired and he lost influence from both the Egyptians and his own Hebrew people.
How do you learn how to lead well? You spend time soaking up the depths of God’s grace and wisdom. Moses had decades in the wilderness to contemplate his actions. Paul took several years himself to relearn what it meant to follow God and lead other’s to Christ. Even Jesus Himself spent 40 days in the wilderness to drink deep from God’s well. It is in that time of separation from the role of leader, and opportunity to realign ourselves as God’s children that we can best remember that all is grace. Everything opportunity we have and every tool we use to lead are gifts from God. Without that perspective, every act we make will miss the mark and undercut our ability to truly lead with God’s grace.
What opportunities have you missed or mishandled?
What opportunities do you have to lead today?
How is God directing you to act in those situations?
- (Heb 11:24–25) ↩