Daily D – Numbers 27:15-17
Numbers 27:15-17 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community. Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (NLT)
Letting go is part of every leader’s journey. It is deeply personal long before it is public. For many, stepping out of the spotlight feels a lot like death. Leadership is stewardship for a season. It is not an entitlement for a lifetime. “Freely you received, freely give,” (Matthew 10:8 CSB) seems like a fitting reminder.
We find out what kind of servants we are when someone treats us like one. Others find out what kind of leaders we are by how easily, or not, it is for us to let go of the levers of power.
A friend I admire and respect called recently to say he is laying down his mantle. “Mantle,” a good word no longer in common use, means a position of authority. It was often marked by a cloak or shawl. Passing the mantle to another was a deeply meaningful practice both for the one letting go and for the one taking it up. Reflect on the story of Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings 2.
Another friend is preparing for his best next steps. He has been preparing himself, his family, his associates, and those he serves for several years. He is not only handing over the reins, he is also getting out of the way of his successor by moving a long way off. He is stepping into a new role that is just right for this season of life.
Several other stories like these come to mind. Some are not so encouraging.
Letting go was hard for Moses. See Deuteronomy 3:21-29 for more details. Moses did what Moses almost always did when he was convinced regarding what was next. He went to God in prayer. He asked God to give Israel a new leader. Joshua stepped into his role and “left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses,” (Joshua 11:15).
God heard and answered Moses’ prayer.
Whether we know our successor or not, we can prepare the way for him or her. The best thing we can do for this successor is to let go without being forced to do so. The next best thing we can do is to leave. The next next thing we can do is step into the role we have been preparing for over a course of years. Even in the afternoon and evening of our lives, we can live productively and effectively if we prepare well in advance.
How are you preparing for what’s next?
Let your current roles provide wind for your sails. Let your future roles draw you toward a special future like a bungee cord attached to your heart. Get good at transitions. Get good at the rhythms of release and embrace.
I will finish well by preparing the way for those who come behind me and by getting out of their way as they step into their new roles.
Our Father, show me the way to leave and when to go. Prepare me for what’s next. Empower me to do today those tasks that will make it easier for those who come behind me. Amen.
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Daily D – 1 Samuel 9:21
1 Samuel 9:21 Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?”
Daily D – 1 Samuel 7:12
1 Samuel 7:12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”
Daily D – 1 Samuel 3:19
1 Samuel 3:19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable.
Daily D – Ruth 2:12-13
Ruth 2:12, 13 “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” “I hope I continue to please you, sir,” she replied. “You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me, even though I am not one of your workers.”
Daily D – Judges 19:1
Judges 19:1 Now in those days Israel had no king. There was a man from the tribe of Levi living in a remote area of the hill country of Ephraim. One day he brought home a woman from Bethlehem in Judah to be his concubine.