Daily D – Numbers 12:1-3
Numbers 12:1-3 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
The one characteristic separating truly great leaders from good leaders is humility. This idea comes to us from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great. Take a look at this Harvard Business Review article from 2001 entitled Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve ([https://bit.ly/3BYt4zo]). This article is based on Collins’ research. Here is his big idea:
A five-year research project searched for the answer to that question, and its discoveries ought to change the way we think about leadership. The most powerfully transformative executives possess a paradoxical mixture of personal humility and professional will.
They are timid and ferocious. Shy and fearless. They are rare—and unstoppable.
In other words, Level 5 leaders sound a lot like Moses.
Go back to Exodus 3 and 4. God calls Moses to lead his people out of slavery into freedom during the encounter at the burning bush. Moses steadfastly resists this call. He finally reluctantly agrees when God promises to send his brother Aaron with him to do the talking.
Read what happened from that moment until this one in Numbers 12 and it appears as if Jim Collins was writing about Moses. We see his “paradoxical mixture of personal humility and professional will.” We see Moses at times timid and at other times ferocious. We see him shy and fearless.
Great leaders are humble enough to know they do not know it all. They are astute enough to discuss any topic with intelligent insight. Rather than powerfully pronouncing policy and procedure, they ask powerful questions and discover transformative insight. The best bosses are not bossy. The best bosses are inquisitive and interested and understand they can learn something from every person they meet if they ask the right questions and listen to the answers.
Power is best displayed under the control of deference and respect. Modesty and meekness propel leaders from good to great.
Leaders who push and proclaim and pounce on every displeasure never make the journey from good to great. Greatness is all about ego management. It is a matter of limiting one’s own while enhancing that of others. Great leaders look up to their coworkers. Great leaders hold up others for admiration. Great leaders make everyone around them greater.
Here is your competitive advantage. Here is your secret weapon. Here is your opportunity to excel.
Humble leaders do not have to shout. They do not have to argue. They do not lose their composure. They Think Others First. They eat last. They know their limitations.
You have no doubt heard all of these things before today. On a scale of 1-5 with 5 representing the best, how humble are you? Be honest to God and honest with yourself. What would others say about your response? Can you humble yourself enough to ask? Can you humble yourself enough to hear what they have to say and to take your best next steps toward Level 5 leadership?
Only great leaders will. Only great leaders can.
I will lead with deference, respect, and humility.
Our Father, thank you for surrounding me with family members and friends who are smarter, better, and faster than me. Thank you for making it easy to live humbly in the light of their greatness. Empower me to listen to them carefully, to learn from them intentionally, to amplify their wisdom daily, and to serve them continually. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.