Daily D – Joshua 3:7
The LORD told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.” JOSHUA 3:7 (NLT)
An old discussion in leadership development circles asks, “Are leaders born or made?” John Maxwell likes to ask this question and then pause for a moment as people ponder it. Then he says, “Of course leaders are born. There’s no other way to get here!”
Well, there’s that.
Moses, the Leader of All Leaders, was dead. It was Joshua’s turn to step up and lead the way (Josh. 1:2). God promised his presence, his direction, and his strength always without end (vv. 3-9). Moses had been preparing Joshua for this role for some time. He had commissioned him, encouraged him, and strengthened him as God had directed him to do (Deut. 3:28). Joshua was a known and trusted leader. Now it was time to lead.
The first leadership challenge he faced was mobilizing the people to enter the land long promised to their ancestors. There was one problem: The Jordan River was at flood stage. It was flowing over its banks. It was deeper and wider than normal. The water was running fast. Nobody was crossing that river that day without supernatural intervention. In case we forget to observe it later, what happens next is a good reminder to always take your impossible situations to God.
God told Joshua to have the Levites carry the Ark of the Covenant and to step into the flooded river. The river stopped flowing. The water stood up like a wall (3:13). Every man, woman, child, and all their livestock crossed over on dry ground.
“That day the LORD made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses,” (4:14).
That looks like the answer to the old question. Leaders are made.
Fast forward to the night Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples (Luke 22:1-38). The story begins with the note that satan entered into Judas (v. 3). Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray him (v. 21). They discussed among themselves who would ever do such a thing (v. 23). The discussion turned into an argument when they talked about who was the greatest among them (v. 24). Jesus settled the argument (vv. 25-27).
Jesus told them,
“In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.
Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?
The one who sits at the table, of course.
But not here!
For I am among you as one who serves.”
- Leaders are born.
- Leaders are made.
- Leaders are born and made to serve.
Tom Harper’s new book is entitled, Servant Leader Strong: Uniting Biblical Wisdom and High-Performance Leadership. Tom demonstrates dozens of ways great leaders serve.
This meditation was interrupted by a company-grade Marine officer preparing a lecture and discussion regarding the assumptions involved in mission planning and execution. Marine officers apparently learned a lot from Jesus. One assumption we carry into our various leadership roles is that it is not about us, but about those we serve. We do what we do for the benefit of others. That is good leadership. That is Jesus’ kind of leadership. That is servant leadership.
Leaders are born. Leaders are made. Leaders are born and made to serve. No matter your rank or status, you are here to honor God and to serve others. Jesus led with a towel and a basin. Jesus laid down his life for his friends. Jesus intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34). Lead like Jesus.
I will lead like Jesus.
Our Father, it’s not about me. My personal enrichment and pleasure are not the purpose of life. I am not here to live the life of my dreams. I am here to live the maximum expression of your dreams for me. I am here to serve. I was born for this. I have been made for this. Lead me that I may lead others with clarity and wisdom. Lead me that I may always start from the feet up rather than the head down. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)