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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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”